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What About Homebirth?

A young lady emailed me with a question. Here is the question & my response:

I was wondering what you think of homebirth since I am considering it. I am not pregnant yet(we are praying) but my friend is 8 and 1/2 months pregnant and has decided to have her baby at home. I guess we just need some input. Thanks for any help you can give.


I appreciate your letter. I commend you for asking questions and looking into the matter before it becomes an issue that needs to be settled before you're ready. I often wish I had thought more about it before my first pregnancy.

Let me start out with a little history of the birth of my children, then I'll give you my advise. My first pregnancy, we planned for a hospital birth. He turned out to be a c-section baby ("failure to progress"). My husband and I are both convinced if we had been more informed, and been a little more patient or had a doctor that was more "natural-birth" minded, that we could have had all natural births.

With the second pregnancy, we started going to a midwife. When we lived in Texas, we went to a Birth Center to give birth (this is a facility that staffs many midwifes and rooms to give birth in but in a homey setting; or the midwife will come to your home). This was when v-bac(vaginal birth after caesarian) was considered high risk, but my midwife was willing to take the chance. I have been blessed with midwifes that I have had all the confidence in the world in. With the next three births with a midwife, there were no problems to speak of; things went pretty smoothly.

The next two births, though, have been a bit riskier. My pregnancies went well but I had complications during the birth. Although neither of them required me or the baby to go to the hospital, they almost did. Both times it was things that really wouldn't have been that much different if I had been in a hospital (by the way the last one was at home, the others were in the Birth Center); the last two were both breach at the last minute. With the last one I had partial placenta abruption with a couple of other problems. The Lord was with us in it all and allowed everything to work out for the best. All of my children are healthy and strong. I am now a high risk and so if I have anymore children I will have to go to a doctor and a hospital, but I still strongly advocate midwifery.

NOW, my advise would be, "Pray about it. Pray, pray, pray." The Lord knows you and He knows what you can handle. Discuss it openly and honestly with your husband; come to a decision that you both can live with. Don't discount what your husband has to say, just because he's not the one giving birth. He's your authority and he has your best-interest in mind.

Check with either a qualified midwife or a doctor that you trust to find out whether you are at high risk or low risk. A midwife is capably trained to assist the parents in the birth of their child under most circumstances. (I was blessed in Texas with a very qualified midwife that had a very good reputation and had been training other midwifes for years.) Most midwifes can do the prenatals, bloodwork, and postnatals, etc.

Whether you go with a doctor or a midwife, become informed on childbirth. Go to the library; ask your doctor or midwife questions and keep asking until you understand. Don't feel intimidated or that you're asking a silly question; it's your baby you're asking about & his/her parents deserve to know all they can of their well-being. I do believe that there are too many unnecessary c-sections because of uninformed parents-to-be and many doctors are afraid of a malpractice suit if something goes wrong in a normal delivery.

If you use a doctor, check out his history; find out what percentage of c-sections he/she performs and for what reasons (a lot of times "failure to progress" may mean the doctor had somewhere else he wanted to be when the baby would have been born; but not always). If you use a midwife, check out her history as well; find out how many she has had to have taken to the hospital. Is she good at diagnosing when there is a big enough problem to take them to the hospital? Check your area to see if there are good, qualified midwifes to be had.

Birth Centers & home births are both considerably cheaper than doctors and hospitals and some medical insurance policies actually cover using a midwife. Check into that, if finances are a major consideration.

You and your husband both need to be comfortable with the decision. If you're not comfortable with where the birth takes place or who is assisting you in the delivery, you may not be mentally prepared or able to cope with it. If you are not comfortable with a doctor and your not comfortable with a homebirth, but you are comfortable with a midwife, look in the phone book for a Birth Center in your area.

God made childbirth to be a natural process. Pregnancy is not a sickness; neither is the baby usually sick; therefore the hospital, in my mind, has always seemed the most unlikely place we should be to give birth (where there are so many viruses and germs floating around). I do realize there are some very real physical problems that can deter having a natural delivery, although some are greatly exaggerated today. The most important thing would be to pray & seek the Lord's will in the matter & secondly to find out if you are low risk to give yourself peace of mind. If you have anymore questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask.

May God bless you and your husband in your decision,
Kim Camp


NOTE: I am not trained in any medical field and am not qualified to give advise as to who is physically, medically able to have a homebirth. This is merely a compilation of my thoughts on the issue. A good link to get more medical information would be Midwifery Today.