Nov 5, 2006

Pregnancy & Birth Plans: FAQ

As it gets closer to the 3rd trimester, I thought I would take some time to spell out some of our birth plans and reasoning right this list is based on some of the most often asked questions we've heard from family and friends.

Q: Who is your doctor/Where will you be having the baby?
A: We're primarily using midwives. Christy Santoro and Karen Webster of WomanWise, along with their apprentice midwife Susi Delaney, are our midwives and we'll be having our baby at home with them.
In addition to the midwives, we've also lined up a wonderful and highly regarded obstetrician at that same local hospital here in the city. Right now she's serving as a sort of "pregnancy consultant" to us, monitoring my pregnancy from a medical standpoint. In the unlikely event that I or the baby would need medical intervention in a hospital setting, she's going to be our go-to-physician. She's supportive of our choice to homebirth and as confident as we are that the baby being born at home with midwives will be a much safer and intimate family experience. We'll see her a few more times over the course of the pregnancy, and, hopefully won't see her at all after about 36 weeks! The primary function of our 3 midwives is to keep me and the baby safe; if we need more extensive medical care, they will be the first to suggest it, and we are just minutes from the Hospital we've chosen as a "backup"...and, should we need to go to the hospital for any reason, this "consulting" doctor will help to facilitate our entry.

Q: Why are you choosing homebirth? Isnt it dangerous?
A: Actually, home birth is statistically MUCH safer than hospital birth for healthy, low-risk women - which I am. Remember that pregnancy is not a disease, and birth is not a medical emergency -- it is a natural physiological process.
  • To review the latest british medical journal study about homebirth, click here.
  • If you are interested in reviewing some information on the safety of homebirth, click here for a fact sheet.
  • To see a list of books and web resources on homebirth, click here.

Q: Why on earth would you want to give birth at home?
A: To us, labor care is a totally personal and individual choice. There are many women, including me, who hope for a child-birth in which they, not the doctors, are in control. We want to have the information that will enable us to make our own decisions, to prepare ourselves for an experience in which we participate fully, and we do not wish labour and birth to be taken over by "managers". While Hospitals exist where all members of staff share this attitude, they are few and far between here in Philadelphia. Therefore, we have chosen the setting where we think we will be able to achieve the most focused concentration, positive labor support and in general create a situation which will foster the kind of inner confidence that is needed for a good birth.
Every single woman's birth experience is totally different - and while we can't predict what will actually happen, we are trying to "stack the odds" in our favor as much as possible.
This is not something we have decided to do without much research -- We are not being "brave" -- We are very well informed and lucky to be able to make this choice. We know that homebirth is not for everyone, but we do feel it is the right choice for us.

Q: Can you pick the room you have the baby in?
A: Yes, with a hombirth, any room I happen to be in is where the baby will be born. There are no restrictions on where or how or what position when you birth at home.

Q: So, do they bring the epidural into the house?
A: No. Homebirth means having a natural, intervention-free childbirth in the care of wise, women who are experts at delivering babies. Choosing homebirth means that I will not have an induction, epidural or episiotomy. I am happy and comfortable with that decision...I do realize that not everyone can choose or even wants to have a natural, drug free childbirth, and I have nothing against anyone who labors differently.

Q: Are you having an Ultrasound? If not, why not?
We aren't having an ultrasound unless we need one for some medical reason.
There are specific reasons to have an ultrasound (checking problems, confirming defects that have been detected through other tests, confirming the possibility of twins, etc...) and none of those reasons have applied to us. Sure we could just have one because its cool, but that didnt seem like the right reason to do it. The effectiveness of ultrasound as a routine procedure has never been proven. In fact, a number of studies have shown definitively that there is no better outcome for women who have had one or more routine ultrasound examinations during their pregnancies, as compared to those who have had none. Some folks undoubtedly find our decision bizarre. I don't know, there is just something that I like about not knowing... millions of other women never see their babe before it's born, including our moms, (and look, we turned out just fine!)
  • If you want to read about the recommended use and evidence on ultrasounds, click here.