It’s totally possible to avoid unnecessary interventions without doing the whole home birth thing.
If you’re a natural-minded mama-to-be, you may be considering opting for a home birth to avoid unnecessary medical interventions.
I’ve been there, and I know there are so many things to consider when making that decision: Will I have to pay out-of-pocket for a midwife? What if there are complications and I need a surgeon? Who will clean up the room and care for me in the hours after birth? What if the baby is sick and needs a doctor right away? And then there’s the ever-popular: What if the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck?
It feels like a huge decision, but I’m here to tell you that a natural birth doesn’t have to be that big of a deal. In fact, if you’re worried at all about the medical side of having a natural birth, you might be relieved to know that there’s no reason you can’t have a medication-free birth in a hospital —or even with an OB/GYN.
Trust me on this. I’ve done it twice. I would, however, like to let you in on things that you can do to prepare yourself and your medical team for the birth experience that you want to have.
Make sure you know exactly what you want. It helps to make a childbirth plan (a list of things you do and do not wish to occur during labor and birth), but it’s mostly for your own benefit. Taking the time to solidify a birth plan helps you decide which items on your list are most important, and which you can let slide. And yes, you should be willing to let a few things slide if the birth becomes risky at any point.
With my first child I had a lengthy and detailed birth plan but the most important thing I did was to determine a handful of items that were deal-breakers to me. I communicated those to my doctor face-to-face so that I knew she understood what I needed and wanted. She was very cooperative and receptive to my needs. (However, not every laboring mama is so lucky as to have a doctor who trusts the patient’s instincts.)
When I gave birth to my second child, I was technically under the care of a midwife, who was at the mercy of the doctor on call. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as receptive to my hippie ways as my regular OB was.
I made it clear that I didn’t want an IV or a saline lock, as my veins roll terribly and finding a vein in my arm can be a pretty traumatic experience for me. Even though I was in the throes of labor, the doctor on call came in and gave me a stern lecture on the risks I was taking by refusing the saline lock.
At that point I didn’t care what anyone had to say, as the labor pains had caused me to retreat into my mind (Don’t talk to me, don’t breathe on me, don’t move around the room, and certainly don’t come at me with a needle).
After the doctor’s speech, I was only able to manage an enraged glare in response, but that was enough because she let me be and dropped the IV issue. I didn’t see her again until my baby was making her entrance. (So yeah, I had to have a level of resolve when it came to my wishes.)
Some patients forget that even though doctors train for these kinds of situations and their advice carries weight, your body is your body. If you’re of sound mind, they cannot force a particular treatment on you. And if they do, they’ll be in deep legal trouble.
So how did I do it? I knew what I wanted, I communicated that to my husband and caregivers, and I refused to feel guilty or bullied when they expressed their concerns. So if you’re considering having a natural birth but are a little nervous at the prospect of a home birth, don’t be afraid to take your natural ways to the hospital.
Even though you may not agree with the way hospital births usually go down, the medical staff just wants what’s best for you and your baby.
You can do birth your way and still keep them around.