Making Choices

Women can be passionate when choosing their place of birth.  Some fight aggressively for the right to have their baby at home.  Some, horrified at the thought of being in their home during childbirth, fight for epidurals or even planned cesareans.  Most, on both sides of the issue, are aggressive in voicing their opinions and have strong feelings about the choices other women make.

Every woman should make her own choice.  We know that women must feel safe and well cared for if they want to have a smooth childbirth.  We are mammals, and our species does not allow the vulnerability of birth to occur when threatened.  A woman afraid to birth at home is at much at risk from her own fears as a woman who is terrified of hospitals.

Sometimes the place of birth is chosen because of medical needs.  Sometimes the place of birth is chosen based on a woman’s preference and level of comfort.  Our own choices often color our opinion of others’.  Birth choices are personal.  Judging others’ choices only causes conflict, and conflict does not help babies come into the world.

Combining the best evidence on maternity care with our own personal needs allows us to make smart decisions.  Women who are misinformed, uneducated or disinterested in their options may make choices they will later regret.

Births, whether they occur at home, at a birth center, or in a hospital, should be attended by skilled and experienced midwives or family physicians with essential qualifications:  trust for and experience with supporting the process of normal, noninterventional physiologic childbirth; the ability to attend a birth without relying on extensive technology for low risk labors, the equipment and skill to recognize complications if they occur, the knowledge of ability to respond to complications, and appropriate back-up readily available and accessible without professional judgment or repercussions.

In this era of polarized opinions, it is important that the place of birth be chosen based on each woman’s medical needs, and level of comfort and preference without judgment from others who may feel differently.

Maternity care in the U.S. is in need of reform.  We need to educate ourselves and our birthing facilities to provide quality maternity care without causing unnecessary complications.  We need more out-of-hospital birthing centers that provide safe, physiologic childbirth experiences.  We need midwives with training, experience, and plenty of support readily available when necessary.  We need to support home births so they can be well attended without compromising safe practices.  And we need to vote with our choices, making those choices based on best evidence and each mother’s personal need for a satisfying and safe birth.

Stacey Marie Kerr, MD author of Homebirth in the Hospital.

~ by cmb0414 on April 16, 2010.

One Response to “Making Choices”

  1. Great post. I totally agree with you. Every woman should make her own choice. mothers are the one who undergo the procedures and not any one else.

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