What a complicated subject this has become! I don’t want to enter the debate or tell anyone what to do but I will share this opinion: If you chose NOT to educate yourself about the process and actively create a plan, then your odds of ‘cascading interventions’ are higher. Americans in general are way overmedicated and there are way too many Cesareans — that is just plain fact (one day I will add references for this). The only question is whether you think that is a good or bad thing. Or maybe it is just a thing — not good or bad? Whatever!
We chose a homebirth for lots of reasons, including that I believe it is better for baby and mama IF both are healthy and low risk. It was crazy, beautiful and hurt like hell. But it went relatively well. We had a beautiful baby girl and I felt pretty darn good afterwards. (Then about three weeks later, we discovered that I had a bizarre, rare and almost asymptomatic complication. That was even crazier and super scary but all our ‘anti-homebirth’ doctors eventually conceded the complication was not because of or unique to homebirth and in other rare situations when it happens, they are just as unlikely to figure it out at the hospital. Still haven’t written about that shit but will one day. Don’t let that scare you away from homebirth — I mention it here because I feel obligated to be transparent about a complicated and emotionally charged subject. I wouldn’t want to suggest that I had no trouble, even though the trouble was not necessarily because of homebirth.)
If anyone reading this page is even thinking about getting pregnant, I strongly encourage you to educate yourself about childbirth in the US. I am so happy to see more options for women and families. I am encouraged to see doctors and midwives moving towards a more collaborative and trusting relationships. That is awesome. Pregnancy and childbirth are natural processes that women are designed to do. But it is nice to have docs nearby in case things go really wrong. It is really nice to have docs and midwives that can communicate, trust each other and now when to tell the difference.
Ok, now on to my recommendations:
I go to books first, but many people (especially if they are skeptical of an idea) are not going to go out, buy a book, and sit down to read it. So, I’ll start with a movie: The Business of Being Born
- Jenny West was our midwife. She has attended the birth of over 800 babies (that was at the time that our daughter was born, so probably even more now!). Her webpage has lots of valuable info and another great reading list: http://www.albuquerquehomebirth.com/
- My complete reading list: Pregnancy and Parenting Book Recommendations