Why Women Choose Home Birth
By Rachel Walden — June 17, 2009
A recent issue of the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health includes a study conducted by midwife Debora Boucher and others to understand why some U.S. women choose home birth. The authors conducted an online survey of these women (found through online ads and home birth providers), asking questions about demographic data as well as their reasons for choosing home birth.
One hundred and sixty responses were analyzed. The majority of the women who responded were white, married, and college-educated, with a mean age of 35. Twenty-six general reasons emerged, with safety, better outcomes, intervention free, negative previous hospital experience, control, and comfortable environment being the top five most frequent answers.
Additional reasons cited, at various rates, were trust in birth, a dislike of hospitals/doctors, a peaceful experience, and to avoid cesarean section, among others. Cost, infection, fear, and a history of fast labors were among the least-cited reasons for choosing home birth.
Note: the fourth author on the paper is Dr. Rixa Freeze, who blogs at Stand and Deliver.
Related to the issue of birth-related choices, you may want to check out our statement, Choices in Childbirth: A Statement by Physicians, Midwives and Women’s Health Advocates who Support Safe Choices in Childbirth.
There’s just one very serious problem. Homebirth increases the risk of neonatal death. All the existing scientific evidence (including those papers that claim to show that homebirth is safe) actually show that homebirth has a neonatal death rate almost triple that of hospital birth for comparable risk women.
The Midwives Alliance of North America, the trade union for homebirth midwives, is currently working mightily to suppress the data that they have collected from 2001-2008. Their own data shows that homebirth increases the risk of neonatal death and they are doing everything in the power to keep that information from women.
So if American hospitals are doing such a great job, why are more women and babies DYING in America than in Cuba??