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Safety Of Homebirth Essay

1639 words - 7 pages

Is homebirth safe for low risk mothers and babies? This question has been the focus of numerous studies since the late 1960’s when the majority of women began birthing in hospitals. Prior to middle of the 20th century most women gave birth at home under the care of a midwife. As the specialty of obstetrics grew the number of women choosing to give birth in the hospital increased. In 1940 56% of births happened in the hospital, by 1969 that percentage jumped to 99% where it remains today (Boucher, Bennett, McFarlin, & Freeze, 2009). These studies have shown that among low risk women, planned home birth results in lower intervention rates with no increase in adverse outcomes for the mother or the baby (Boucher et al., 2009). Giving birth at home is just as safe as giving birth in the hospital, if the mother is healthy, at low risk for complications, has planned a home birth and is under the care of a certified professional midwife.
Women who give birth at home under the care of a trained midwife benefit from the Midwives Model of Care (MMC). One of the advantages of the MMC is the superior prenatal care that the mothers receive. The MMC model of care also focuses on holistic care and promotes shared decision-making. A midwife’s prenatal appointments are longer, allowing mothers to express their concerns, share their excitement, and have any questions answered. Prenatal care focuses on the growth and development of the baby and on educating the mother about the changes her body will go through, what will happen during each stage of pregnancy, good nutrition, exercise, and preparation for childbirth. When a mother is well cared for and educated she is able to partner with the midwife in her care, making decisions that protect her wellbeing and that of her baby. This type of early and comprehensive prenatal care has been shown to reduce the rate of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality and reduce the rate of long-term disability (Phillippi, 2009).
During the prenatal period the midwife gets to know her patient well, and knows what is normal for her and her baby. For example the midwife knows what her patient’s normal blood pressure, pulse and respirations are, what her normal disposition is and much more. The midwife remains with her client throughout labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum period allowing her to immediately notice even the smallest changes in the mother or the baby’s status. Because she is an expert in normal pregnancies the midwife will know if these changes are within normal limits or if the mother or baby require some type of intervention or transport for specialized care. The intimate knowledge of the client, the continuity of care during the entire birth process, and the recognition of all signs that fall outside the parameter of normal, provide the client and her baby with a safe environment in which they can experience a natural birth free from unnecessary interventions. Women who experience the MMC...

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