Updated: Nov 29
I've seen a lot of posts about the risks of using a midwife for your prenatal care, or the risks of home birth. They are typically from an OB Doctor or hospital system promoting their birth services to the community.
There's nothing wrong with that as a whole. That is how any business thrives -- by sharing what they believe makes them the best choice.
The problems is... these types of articles aren't generally shared with any citations for research, evidence-based studies, or even long term anecdotal or Empirical evidence.
And we have all of that available and easily found given this day and age of the Internet,
We have research that shows the growth in education opportunities, knowledge and skill set development that supports trained midwifery care as a very safe option for low-risk, otherwise healthy families. We have studies that show there are risks to early inductions and that the 40 week standard model, as well as the use of 3rd trimester ultrasound as dating basis can be off by as much as 2-3 weeks for pregnancy expectations. Statistics are often difficult to discern among birth record reportings as things like PLANNED home birth with a midwife are in among UNPLANNED/ACCIDENTAL home births with no one present, or the inclusion of high risk concerns with those that midwives traditionally accept into care (low risk), and then the waters are further muddled by inclusion of preterm babies spontaneously delivered out of hospital in general
So medical risks and benefits are very important when making your evidence-informed decision on the path your pregnancy journey will follow. Blooming Birth Company shares a beautiful page with some of the benefits to all involved with a home birth....
Benefits for the mama Longer prenatal visits provide the necessary time for building an open and satisfying relationship built on mutual trust and respect. There is ample time for all questions, concerns, desires and needs to be explored. Women can feel seen and supported physically and emotionally. Autonomy to choose which prenatal tests and procedures to do without coercion or threat. No looming inductions at 41 weeks. Homebirth midwives recognize that normal “term” pregnancies commonly go to 42 weeks. Unhurried birth — Midwives trust the process and dynamics of birth. Longer labors are not routinely forced along with pitocin and other interventions to speed things up. Privacy — Women can labor in the privacy, comfort, and security of their own home. The only people present at the birth are those chosen by the mother. No strangers entering the room. Minimal disruptions — No “routine” vaginal exams. Midwives honor that all labors are unique and proceed best when not interfered with. Mothers are not automatically subject to routine procedures. No electronic monitors strapped to their bellies, no routine IVs or antibiotics. Pushing however her body wants to – In whatever position she want to be in, breathing however she wants to breathe. Less risk of interventions - cesarean birth, forceps, vacuum, infection…. Waterbirth! In a tub deep enough to fully submerge the belly for optimal pain relief. Intimacy — Women will have the same birth attendants with them throughout their labor and birth. There are no shift changes at home. Less risk of perineal trauma — Midwives are dedicated to helping mothers birth without tearing. Bonding — After the birth, mothers and babies are never separated. The newborn exam and other newborn care is always performed right there with the mother. Respect — The mama’s experience of birth is recognized and honored. Excellent breastfeeding support.
Benefits for the baby
Born in their own time — Babies are born when they are ready! Labor is not artificially started through routine induction practices. Vaginal birth — Babies are more likely to be born vaginally, without the use of instruments like forceps and vacuum. Oxygen — Babies are significantly less likely to suffer fetal distress in labor because they are not under the influence of medications and the mother is not forced to lay on her back or do “purple pushing” — both of which restrict the flow of blood and oxygen to baby. Fewer breathing issues - Due to the unmedicated, unhurried nature of homebirth, babies are less likely to be born with breathing difficulties. Optimal Fetal Positioning is facilitated – Because mama’s movements and positions are not restricted and midwives encourage beneficial positioning, babies have the wiggle room they need to get into a good position and gravity helps them descend. There is less chance of them getting “stuck” in a poor position. No drugs on board — Babies are born without the effects of narcotics or other central nervous system depressants. Babies get to keep ALL their blood. No early cord cutting. Baby receives her FULL blood volume from the placenta because her umbilical cord is not cut prematurely. Less risk of anemia and other problems related to immediate cord cutting. Less risk of infection and a healthier microbiome! Babies are born into the family environment complete with all the bugs and microorganisms that mama has been living in and that will become a healthy part of the baby’s developing immune system. There is no exposure to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria commonplace in the hospital. Babies are immediately skin-to-skin becoming naturally colonized with mom’s beneficial bacteria. Gentle birth — Babies are born gently, without force and unnecessary maneuvers. Babies are welcomed into a warm, loving environment without bright lighting or loud noise and chatter. Born into loving hands — Babies are welcomed first by the hands of the mother, father, midwife, or some combination! The mother’s voice is often the first one baby hears. Bonding — Babies always stays with their mothers. The mother-newborn bond is never sacrificed for institutional purposes. Breastfeeding on demand — Babies are encouraged to breastfeed as soon as baby and mom are ready. No unnecessary pokes — Babies are not subjected to routine glucose tests or other lab work. Respect — The baby’s experience of birth is recognized and honored.
Benefits for the family
Family-centered care - The mother and family are treated with dignity and respect. Mothers and partners are encouraged to catch their own babies. Precious moments - The time right after the baby is born is honored as sacred and fleeting. This is a time for mothers and babies to greet each other and fall in love. Midwives strive to facilitate these instinctive, private moments by refraining from unnecessarily disturbing the mother or the baby. Siblings truly are included and can participate with ease. They feel safe and secure at home and can help welcome baby with confidence and love. They will always remember welcoming a baby at home. Kids especially love waterbirths, and can even be in the tub with mom if she likes. Safe and relaxed at home — Mothers and babies do not have to leave the house in the first week — the midwife comes to them for postpartum checks. A midwife remains on-call 24 hours a day for any urgent postpartum concern.
What would you add to the list of benefits?