Home births: On the rise, and safer?
I've desired a home birth from afar since I was pregnant with my second son, Truman. There was no way I was going to convince anyone of that after I suffered a partial placental abruption in week 23, especially as an attempted VBAC, and sure enough, I ended up with a cesarean, taking home births (at least in my husband's opinion) forever off the table. (Monroe, my third, was a VBAC in the hospital.)
Whether or not I have another baby and try to convince the interested parties in the sensibility of such a birth, I'm still head over heels in love. I've had several friends who birthed at home; my neighbor did, and so did a friend whose basement birthing room (next to the laundry machine) I ooh-ed and ahh-ed over, wishing. Home births are on the rise in the U.S., up 20% between 2004 and 2008, and not just because of the romance or (as I heard someone say on the radio) the "feminist machoism" -- there are a lot of us without insurance, and home births are just far cheaper. A midwife's services for a home birth are usually around $2,500 to $3,000 for the whole pregnancy and delivery; we all know that hospital births, without private insurance, can top $12,000 for a simple dilate-and-push procedure.
Today on Here & Now, I listened to a midwife whose statistics gave me a thrill. Detractors bring up the scary what-if scenarios, but according to these numbers, of 100 home births 88 were successfully accomplished at home, with 12 going to the hospital; and nine of these only requiring very minor medical intervention once they arrived, with only three of 100 being emergencies. This sounds extremely safe to me; I doubt the statistics of in-hospital births could compare to such a low intervention rate.
I know we have a lot of home birthers here in Portland; does anyone know if there have been statistics kept on such things here? If you've wanted a home birth, how did it go -- both the negotiations and the actual birth?