The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA


A Scientist Considers Homebirth

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.


I'm a scientist but part of being one is that I question everything. Partly from the postings on this and one other list, I am becoming convinced that you really have to take on the responsibility of making decisions about your birth yourself - no matter how qualified the doctor (currently I'm using and OB) is. From what I can tell (personal experience and listening to all the folks here), doctors have a myriad of motivations that may not necessarily place your and your baby's well being at the top of the list. Not that they want a bad outcome, but the c-section rate sort of speaks for itself as to the concern for the actual birthing woman. I am appalled at the interventions that many times are routinely used and how these practices affect the birth outcome.
What a great attitude. Yes, you're right that you really have to take responsibility for your own birth, but it's not always easy to convince your caregiver that they need to relinquish the responsibility which they believe lies in their hands. Not an easy task.

. . I could almost be a candidate for homebirth except I remain paranoid about some emergency situation coming up and this is my first child and I will be 40 when I deliver.
The only thing that can't be done at home is surgery, and it often takes as long as 20 minutes to set up for an "emergency" cesarean. If you're giving birth at a teaching hospital (which has its own problems - watch out for their tendency to "practice" intubation on the baby), there will be probably a resident there at all times. Otherwise, there may not be a doctor in the house. I mention this so you can ask questions if it's important to you to have surgery available immediately.

And, I'll repeat, if you're concerned about safety, you'd do better to stay away from the hospital. Seriously, chances of dire outcomes are much greater at the hospital. Ask your OB for references about hospital safety. I can tell you that when I asked this question on the OB list, I was told that studies aren't necessary because it's obvious that hospitals are safer. They have no rebuttals to the only existing studies doing the comparison - there are many, and they all show homebirth safer.

And, contrary to the image of birth show in movies and on TV, birth happens very slowly. The true emergencies, shoulder dystocia and postpartum hemorrhage, happen so fast that surgical solutions are of no value. They're less likely to happen at home, and they can be handled at home just as safely as in the hospital. (More safely, actually, since the hospital beds are pessimally designed for coping with shoulder dystocia, but I digress.) Name your biggest fear, and I'll give my opinion on why homebirth is safer on that issue.

. . . Anyway, the reason I wrote you is that I'm a bit worried about my husband. I plan to depend on him during my delivery to help make sure that things go "as planned". He, however, is really prone to being swayed by a doctor saying that xyz must be done or else abc will happen. I have signed us up for Bradley classes thinking that this way he will be learning some of the things that might come up and will be more willing to go against the doctor's first "orders" if the need arises. Actually, I haven't had the chance to check out my doctor's disposition on many issues important to me but there may be no problem after all because I get a good feeling from her so far (I do plan to cover this base soon). Anyway, how would you suggest I could enlist my husband's support in the way I feel I need it?
It sounds as if your husband's issues are more related to his personality that his level of knowledge about birth. I can also tell you that even the best-trained coaches are unlikely to remember everything they need to when attending their first birth. (It took me several births to get over the general awe and the intensity of the experience. I think Bradley classes are great, and they can help teach lots of things that will be very useful in helping your husband support your. But it's a lot to ask of someone to remember all the intellectual stuff, deal with hospital personnel, and support you while being able to have their own experience of the labor and birth.

By the way, if your husband is a scientist also, chances are good that his caregiving skills aren't fully developed. If you're not happy with the way your husband cares for you when you're home sick with the flu, you probably won't be overwhelmingly pleased with his care in labor, either. I've seen too many engineers who are just blown away by the whole experience and can barely carry on a conversation, let alone be supportive to the laboring woman.


. . . By the way, I have considered (and still am considering) going with a midwife like you just so that I am more certain of having a positive experience - of course barring a serious problem. However, I think I would have to compromise because of my husband and still do the delivery in a hospital. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer me.
If you're seriously interested in a homebirth, get the book, "Homebirth" and read it with your husband. If you feel you want a homebirth but he's not convinced, have him correspond with the other dads on the "homebirth" list, which is run by a man who also maintains a web site for homebirth dads.

Given that your chance of being cut in the hospital (either by cesarean or episiotomy) is about 90%, I wonder why your husband wouldn't support you fully in your choice of where to give birth. If he's got misgivings, a little research should lay them to rest.

If you do decide to have a hospital birth and still aren't convinced that your husband will be able to be both labor support and advocate, consider hiring a doula or professional labor coach to do the advocacy part for you. More and more insurance plans are paying for doulas, so the cost might be negligible. Personally, given that having a doula cuts the cesarean rate in half, I would think it would be well worth it, at any price, but I'm very biased.

Good luck with all these decisions and the hormones. :-)

This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about Parents Share Information About Homebirth


SEARCH gentlebirth.org

Main Index Page of the Midwife Archives

Main page of gentlebirth.org         Mirror site

Please e-mail feedback about errors of fact, spelling, grammar or semantics. Thank you.

Permission to link to this page is hereby granted.
About the Midwife Archives / Midwife Archives Disclaimer