My brother and I were Australian-born home birth babies. We spent the first days of our lives in my parents’ bedroom, sleeping in the same bed we were born in. My mother would have it no other way.
Still, when I asked her recently, my mother said she now has niggles of regret about her choice of giving birth out of a hospital – despite her normal pregnancy, smooth labor, and almost no intervention from our local GP or midwife, who were both present. A genetic condition made it incredibly dangerous for my mother to home birth. Only with the long lens of hindsight does she now realize what an enormous risk she took.
For healthy women, home birth is considered to be no more or less dangerous than hospital birth
. You can also avoid the snowball effect of drugs commonly used in hospitals. The use of one painkiller
often requires the use of another, which can negatively affect both mother and child. In an Australian study, the painkiller Oxytocin was found to increase the need for forceps threefold, while an epidural reduced a first time mother’s chance of a normal delivery to less than 50 percent.
I thought nothing of being born at home, and always wondered why everyone discussed the issue with such wide-eyed interest. However, to now hear my mother talk of the risks she took, I can’t help but reflect on the seriousness of her choice.
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