Rate of Home Births Escalates in the U.S.
Until 1989, statistics weren’t available regarding the number of American women who chose midwives instead of obstetricians. That year, just three percent of births in the U.S. were overseen by a midwife. Since 1989, the popularity of midwives and home births has grown considerably, though—at nine percent—this trend still represents a small percentage compared to hospital/Ob-Gyn births.
So what’s behind this trend? Every woman has her own reasons for choosing a home birth with a midwife, but there are a few common factors.
Why more women are choosing home births
Comfort: Comfort and convenience are among the top reasons for choosing a home birth. Welcoming a child into the world is a very personal, intimate experience, and many women aren’t enthused about the idea of a rotating team of medical staff coming in and out of the room, or about laboring in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable hospital room. With a home birth, women have all the comforts of home—literally—within easy reach.
Minimized medical interventions: C-section rates in the U.S. are high enough to be a cause for concern among public health professionals. Many women who have chosen a home birth with a midwife do so because they want greater control over the medical interventions they receive. Of course, if a serious complication develops, the laboring mother will need to be taken to the nearest hospital right away for medical intervention. This is why expecting moms are generally not advised to try a home birth if they live far away from a medical center.
Personalized approach: Most doctors and nurses are genuinely caring individuals who try their best to help their patients, but the healthcare system isn’t set up to facilitate personalized care—and midwifery is. An obstetrician and the nursing staff may supervise multiple laboring women at any given time. A midwife attending a birth is only attending that birth. She is available at the drop of a hat to step in and provide medical or emotional support. Additionally, the approach of midwifery completely respects a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions.
What about the risk of birth injuries?
The possibility of maternal and newborn birth injuries is a real concern for expecting parents. If you have been affected by a birth injury, it is helpful to consult a personal injury lawyer to help with the difficult aftermath. One of the primary advantages of giving birth at a hospital is the instant access to advanced medical equipment, neonatal intensive care units (NICU), and obstetricians in the event that a complication develops. It’s the responsibility of the midwife to assess the expecting mother’s risk of complications, and if necessary, to urge a hospital birth instead. These days, many hospitals welcome licensed midwives. Women may choose to give birth in a hospital with a midwife, with the understanding that their care can be transferred to an obstetrician if need be.
If your child suffered a traumatic injury due to mistakes or medical negligence, a Los Angeles birth injury attorney at Ellis Law can help. Call 310-641-3335 to find out how you can find justice for your child. We’ll be happy to review your case at no charge to you, and if you move forward with a lawsuit, you won’t receive a bill unless you receive a jury award or settlement.
Additional Resources on Home Births:
- The Atlantic, Call the Midwife, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/midwives-are-making-a-comeback/395456/
- NPR, Home Births Grow More Popular In U.S., https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/01/26/145880448/home-births-grow-more-popular-in-u-s