I've been so immersed in birth culture, that I have kind of forgotten that most of my "normal" seems pretty bizarre to mainstream Americans. Words and phrased that are part of my vocabulary are more foreign than Japanese to many of my friends, family, and co-workers. You mean to tell me people don't openly discuss placentas all day long?? What???
I just assume everyone knows what a home birth is, and how awesome I am for having one (teehee), but I thought I could take a minute to explain some of the process, and debunk some of the myths that surround the idea of home birth.
#1 Myth - Home Birth is dangerous.
There have been studies that show that home birth is just as safe -if not safer! - than giving birth in a hospital. Safety is rated by mother and infant mortality rate, and as a country the US is rated very poorly. Here is a lovely write up by the BBC that explains the study a little better than I can.
#2 Myth - Midwives aren't professionals.
There are three different types of midwives - CNM, CPM, and lay midwives. Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are training nurses - many times they actually work with an OBGYN and deliver in a hospital. Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) are - you guessed it!- also certified professionals. Lay midwives are NOT certified and NOT professionals. I wouldn't recommend using one - but I believe this is what many people think of when they hear "midwife". I've only ever seen CNMs. Once, I looked up the education CNMs and CPMs need...and whoa, boy, it's a lot. Like a lot, a lot. Yowzah.
#3 Myth - If there's an emergency, you're in trouble!
Nope, again, not true! Midwives carry tools and drugs in case there is an emergency, and there is always a plan B in place. We extensively talk about what will happen in case of an emergency, what hospital I would prefer to transfer to, and if I have a back-up OBGYN (currently, I do not have a back-up, I'll have to take whoever if I need to transfer.) My midwife will have Pitocin in case I bleed too much, oxygen for the baby if she needs it, sutures, and herbs.
#4 Myth - It's too expensive.
Yes, out of pocket payment can be a bit rough, but many times insurance will cover home birth. For us, we have the worst insurance in the world, and we realized that with a natural childbirth in hospital, we would STILL end up paying at least $6000 AFTER insurance. My midwife doesn't take insurance, but she only charges $3500 for all pre-natal care and delivery. To me, that's a bargain! My insurance will reimburse us for a portion.
There are a thousand blogs and websites out there that are much more eloquent than I, so I suggest you check some out, especially Birth Without Fear .