Another day, another article about home birth. This time an article in the Guardian called ‘Childbirth: Why I take the scientific approach to having a baby’.
The gist of it is that the evidence around safety of home vs hospital is misrepresented. And it focuses on the rates of planned home births which end up with a transfer to hospital. The research quoted (which is pretty authoritative and which I’d read before) states that around 45% of first time mums planning a home birth end up transferring into hospital. Around ten percent of those having a subsequent child transfer.
I clearly got things muddled up as I successfully had my first child at home and then had a mid-labour, in ambulance hospital transfer with my second.
My main issue with this article is the insinuation that having to transfer to hospital implies some kind of failure. It implies that home birth was a ‘wrong’ choice for someone who has to transfer in. I certainly don’t regret trying to have a home birth on either occasion. But neither do I regret the fact I had to transfer into hospital. The experience itself wasn’t traumatic. In fact it was incredibly professionally handled by all concerned and went very smoothly. It was the right thing to happen at the time and I’m glad things went as they did. At no point was I or my baby ‘at risk’ given the prompt transfer. So it feels odd to consider myself one of the statistics implied here as having had a ‘bad’ outcome.
Home birth isn’t going to be for everyone. And it won’t work out as planned for everyone either. But just because Plan A might fall through that doesn’t mean Plan B equals failure. Or that you might regret trying for home birth even if ultimately it doesn’t work out.
All this makes me wish I’d written up my birth story already but I’ve still not got around to it. Soon I promise!