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Friday, September 26, 2008

Birth is sacred and a joy: Home birth

"For a normal, healthy pregnancy, the hospital environment is overkill," says Jessica Reid, 27, a stay-at-home mother in Pasco, Washington.

Jessica had her first baby in a hospital, but plans to have her second – due in late August – at home. "Interventions that neither the mother nor father wish to occur are more likely when surrounded by people who view pregnancy as an illness or labor as inherently dangerous," she says. "I consider birth sacred and a joy, and I intend to birth my baby in a way that reflects that."

She used an experienced midwife for her prenatal care and delivery. The midwife was equipped with a fetal heart monitor, oxygen tank, blood pressure cuff, etc. Jessica soaked in a small birthing pool to relieve her labor pains.

Midwives assist most planned home births. Midwives generally accept only low-risk pregnant women, excluding those with diabetes, high blood pressure, or multiple births. Even so, they travel with basic emergency equipment, including resuscitation gear, oxygen, and medication to stop hemorrhaging. They emphasize that they practice prevention, and know how and when to get a woman to the hospital.

Advice to pregnant women: Think carefully about how you would like to deliver your baby, and make sure your medical provider knows and will heed your preferences for pain relief, C-sections and other options.

Read a very different midwife's story.

Thanks to Ada Calhoun for the source story in the August 18 issue of Time magazine.

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