Seven Tips for Creating a Calm, Joyous Homebirth
by Gloria Lemay
© 2008 Midwifery Today, Inc. All rights reserved.
[Editor's note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today Issue 88, Winter 2008.]
As cesarean and induction rates in hospital climb to astronomical levels many women are turning to homebirth. When interventions become excessively high, the risk/benefit ratio of being in a hospital swings more dramatically into the “riskier” zone, and even physicians and nurses begin choosing homebirth. Just removing your birth from a hospital setting doesn’t guarantee that it will proceed in a natural, flowing manner. Too many women learn the hard way that a midwife can bring a hospital mentality and interventions right into the home and negatively affect the course of the birth. How can you assess the type of midwifery practice that you are purchasing? Here are some tips to help you assess the care that will be provided by midwives:
- Ask to see a video of some births your midwife has attended. This is the modern age. Many people videotape their births and an experienced midwife will have been given many copies of videos with permission to share them with other families. Videos tell you a lot more than photo albums. Be wary of the midwife who won’t give or show you videos. Watch the videos for things like: Is the father playing an active role in the birth? Are the attendants quiet when things are normal and healthy? Is the cord left to pulse until the placenta is born? Does the baby breathe spontaneously without routine suctioning? Are the baby and mother locked in eye contact with no disturbance? Is a water tub part of the birth?
Watch the time clock on the video to see whether the birth of the placenta occurs in a leisurely way or whether the midwife wants it out in less than 30 minutes.
Gloria Lemay is a lecturer, midwifery educator and traditional birth attendant in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She specializes in VBAC and waterbirth. She has served birthing women for 29 years and was honored with a nomination for the 1996 Woman of Distinction Award by the YWCA in her community. She is a contributing editor of Midwifery Today and an Advisory Board Member of ICAN.