“Why are you doing homebirths, and why is the government promoting them, if no one has any idea whether or not they are safe?” A question asked by Dr Amy on Homebirth Debate.
Hmmm. Well, I’m a Community MIdwife, it’s my job. Stop thinking, if I think too much I could talk myself out of a job. I mean, who in their right mind would do a job that requires them to work all day, then go home and wait all evening, all night to see if the phone rings to summon them to previously uncharted territory, to meet new people, in unknown circumstances, for an unspecified length of time and all for their usual hourly rate, plus one third and, to then go to work the next day?
My response to Dr Amy was so smarmy, real interview speak “I would rather provide women demanding homebirth with trained support than encourage UC. There will always be women who want homebirth and, if this is the case, then it must be preferable that they have care from a trained professional.” That’s true, and I suppose it is a component of why I facilitate homebirth, although it does not explain why I promote them. I have purely anecdotal, observational ‘data’ to support my belief that homebirth is appropriate and safe for low-risk women, so from my personal perspective I see no reason not to offer homebirth as a valid option (other than a purely selfish desire not to be on-call!) so I suppose that answers that query.
That makes it sound as if I have no worries about homebirth, I do, but I also have worries about hospital birth. Statistically I have more chance of finding myself encountering a difficult labour, birth when working on the labour ward than I will at a homebirth. If things start to deviate from a clearly defined norm at home I will transfer the woman in immediately, I have absolutely no intention of increasing the chance of harm befalling the woman and baby or finding myself, deliberately, in an emergency situation. I can’t d this in the hospital. Yes, I can ask the Doctors to attend but, as the midwife providing care in labour I have to stay, provide the care the Doctor advises and sometimes be present at an extremely sad outcome.
I wrote the truth when I said that there will always be women who demand homebirth, and I believe that as the caesarian section rate rises, so will homebirth as women search for a less medicalised approach to childbirth. If we don’t provide the choice of homebirth with NHS midwives more women will feel that the only route they can take is that of unassisted childbirth, freebirthing. Obviously, if they have the money they can choose to employ an Indie (Independent Midwife), they can provide better individualised care but they are unable to acquire insurance at present so this may make them less appealing as an option.
There is no ‘perfect’ solution as if we ban NHS homebirths the freebirths will rise and women and babies will die unnecessarily. That’s why I assist women birthing at home.
P.S I’m ‘on-call’ now and if the phone rings the adrenaline starts flowing.