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Why Do Women Choose Out-of-Hospital Settings To Give Birth Today?

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When we had our first homebirth 35 years ago, the desire was to have a voice in our birth.  We felt that being in the hospital lends itself to conforming to their rules unless you wanted confrontation.  And when you’re about to have a baby, you don’t want a fight on your hands — you want a unified effort.

And in the hospital, unity means doing things ‘their way.’

Today there is a bigger issue going on.  There is a trend in our nation to perform more and more cesarean deliveries.  Are mothers more sick?  Why is this happening?

In our local hospitals, one out of four couples may experience a cesarean delivery.  These are high statistics.  Some hospitals in Texas are doing all deliveries cesarean.  This is concerning when studies published by ACOG (American College of  Obstetrics and Gynecologists) state that the mortality risk for mothers is three times higher when a cesarean delivery is performed.

The New York Times published a report in September, 2016 on how global maternal mortality is declining.  (From 2000 to 2015, global death rates fell by more than a third.)  But incredibly, in the United States, they are rising.  We tout ourselves as being a highly educated, developed country and yet we are falling far behind the world trends in good outcomes. We are now behind countries of Iran, Vietnam, Russia and Romania in protecting the maternal health.

Meanwhile, when a woman is under the care of a midwife, her chances of having her baby by cesarean delivery are 1 in 20.  This is far lower than hospital averages.  And studies are finding that birthing outside the hospital is very safe.

Some women choose to give birth at home, or in a birthing center, because they feel safer there.  Others choose it because they believe in the natural process of birth.  Others feel confident in their ability to birth a baby and prefer complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners.  “They believe that pregnancy and delivery are not medical conditions, and shouldn’t be treated as though they were.” Aubrie LeGault/Stocksy.

Michael C. Klein, MD, CCFP is one physician who practices in British Columbia, Canada, where midwives are heavily involved in women’s maternal care.  He said, “It will take much to turn society back from thinking of childbirth as an accident waiting to happen and to help women realize their power and competence.”

Results of the National Birth Center Study are published in the New England Journal of Medicine (12/28/89) concluding that, “Few innovations in health service promise lower cost, greater availability, and a high degree of satisfaction with a comparable degree of safety. The results of this study suggest that modern birth centers can identify women who are at low risk for obstetrical complications and can care for them in a way that provides these benefits. ”

In my work to become a certified professional midwife (CPM) I have found these statistics to be true.  The out-of-hospital option is a safe alternative.  It is cost effective.

The women are more likely to return to their family life feeling empowered.

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2 thoughts on “Why Do Women Choose Out-of-Hospital Settings To Give Birth Today?”

  1. Hey I’m doing research on some of your points and would love to get the sources of: “Meanwhile, when a woman is under the care of a midwife, her chances of having her baby by cesarean delivery are 1 in 20. ”
    “mortality risk for mothers is three times higher when a cesarean delivery is performed.”

  2. We’ve been thinking about our baby’s birth, and wondering where we should have the birth. I’m glad you talked about how some women feel safer in a birthing center, which I think would be good to consider. I’m going to have to look for a few good birth centers and see what we think would be best for us!

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