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At On The Turtle’s Back, we have some babies who were born at home. Not all, mind you. Some of us have had excellent hospital births, myself included. I’m one of the lucky ones. But chances are, you or someone you know and love gave birth at home.

I was a home birth waaayy back in ’78. My mom was asked then, “Are you crazy?!” It seems that the question is still asked of home birthers today.

But perhaps people are catching on.

A CDC study shows that home birth is on the rise. Only about 1 percent of American births take place outside a hospital, but the number increased in recent years, from 46,371 home births in 2003-04 to 49,438 home births in 2005-06.

Okay, so the number is still small. But for me, I think that it’s promising. Because if more of us know people who choose this method, it won’t seem so foreign. (And considering that we’ve been “home birthing” for most of human history, I don’t think it should be “foreign”!)

From ABC News:

The fact that it’s primarily women who had kids before and had birth in hospitals before, certainly suggests it’s a reaction to their prior birth,’ said Eugene Declercq, a professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, and a author of the study. ‘It certainly suggests it’s an experience they don’t want to repeat.’

Some women should birth at the hospital, such as those who are high-risk. But for those like me, with wide birthin’ hips and quick labors (I don’t like to brag. Oh–wait–yes I do!), the home experience is a great alternative to a place where medical interventions so routinely slip in.

I concur with the study author’s thoughts. My second pregnancy was full of unnecessary tests. But thankfully, I had a good birth experience. If I should have more children, however, I would choose the home. That and a lovely midwife.

Image: eyeliam via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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Today on NPR’s “Fresh Air”, host Terri Gross explores the history of childbirth with author Randi Hutter Epstein. She wrote a history of childbirth called “Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth From the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank.”

Sounds interesting. Here are a few snippets from the Fresh Air interview:

How about “Do it yourself” forceps? This is one of the many “innovations” Epstein covers.

Students would watch a doctor…sticking his hands under sheets and [see] a baby pulled out.

And that’s all they saw! Very hands-on. Sounds enlightened, doesn’t it?

On childbirth and pain, and the differing views of it over time:

‘Is pain a good thing or a bad thing? Things that were done to alleviate the pain were considered heresy’…
to, ‘We deserve not to remember anything about childbirth,’
but later feminists were saying, ‘We deserve to experience pregnancy. The real issue is doctor/patient relationships.’

Epstein says that our feelings about our care providers may have helped propel the movement in the 1970s away from drugs during childbirth.

Ack! Although I love hearing about childbirth in general and natural birth in particular, I think certain parts of this book may make me cross my legs. Doesn’t sway me though, I am still eager to read it.
No matter how your baby came into the world, this sounds like a fascinating read.

Check out the interview here. The book is available on Amazon, but not in paperback yet.

Photo: via NPR, taken by Nina Berman.

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