When the idea of surviving a catastrophe like a hurricane or a tsunami comes up, it’s easy to jump to traditional survivalist concepts. How will you stay safe? What about getting a steady supply of food and clean water? Will you have a generator to keep the lights on? Here’s a curveball, though — what if you’re pregnant? If you or a loved one is about to give birth when an emergency situation develops, you may not have access to a hospital or medical facility in which to do so. The good news is, you don’t need a hospital to have a safe birth. In fact, the home birth option has many benefits that can make it a great choice whether the hospitals are available or not. Just make sure you go about giving birth at home the right way.
Midwives Know Their Stuff
One of the most important things about home births is having a midwife by your side. While it’s tempting to assume that a doctor is always going to provide the best care in the event of a medical situation, when it comes to pregnancy this isn’t always the case. In fact, unless you have complications like previous pregnancies that were high risk or you suffer from a malady like an STD or STI that can impact you and your child’s health, chances are you’re better off with a midwife.
Nurse midwives are amongst the most highly sought after, well-paid medical professionals in their field, as their depth of knowledge is not only deep but specific to maternity-related situations. While a doctor may have deep medical knowledge, midwives are specifically trained to make sure that theentire birthing experience goes smoothly, not just the medical part of the equation.
Fewer Interventions Can Mean Fewer Complications
There are other reasons to consider a home birth over a hospital birth apart from the previously mentioned fact that midwives tend to have a more holistic view of the entire birth experience.
For example, hospitals are designed to help those who are sick — and a healthy, pregnant woman is not sick. However, the distinction can easily be lost when a mother in labor shows up at the front desk of a hospital and is treated as just another patient. This casual treatment of pregnant mothers as “just another patient” can lead to the more aggressive use of unnecessary interventions. These can include things like inducing labor or even a C-section when it isn’t necessary, which can complicate and exacerbate the birthing experience, and — in extreme cases — the extra interventions can even lead to death.
A midwife, on the other hand, will know what complications and signs to look for, but will typically let a birth take place with minimal intervention unless dangers arise. This is often the safest way to deliver a healthy baby — unrushed and at the pace of the mother and child.
Keeping Things Natural
In addition to a reduction in interventions, home births are almost always more natural experiences than those at a hospital. And, of course, the more natural you can keep things while pregnant, the better. The list of foods and medicines a pregnant woman should avoid during pregnancy, for instance, is already a mile long. It just so happens that the same concept can and should be applied to birth whenever possible, too.
Again, just to make clear, a hospital is an excellent place to be when dealing with an emergency. But a natural event like a healthy birth can be greatly improved when it can take place in a home setting. The benefits are numerous and include things like:
- Not needing to travel while in labor or with a newborn child.
- Laboring in a peaceful, comfortable, and familiar atmosphere.
- Sleeping in your own bed after giving birth.
- Not having nurses poking and prodding you every hour or two.
These benefits aren’t just casual comforts for the mother, either. They also help facilitate a smoother, less traumatic birth experience, which is better for everyone involved.
Being Informed is Key
While it’s easy to see all of the reasons to opt for a home birth over a hospital birth, it should be clearly stated that this doesn’t mean a home birth is always the best option. As stated above, a typical healthy, low-risk home birth still involves a medical professional (a midwife) and should be done in a clean, safe environment. If you or a loved one go into labor in the middle of a natural disaster, you may find yourself dealing with serious complications that can quickly spiral out of control.
For example, if you can’t get to a hospital, there’s a good chance that a midwife may not be able to get to you either. In addition, you may find yourself dealing with things like heavy bleeding, stalled labor, or even extreme cases like the need for a C-section. If this is the case, you’re going to want to have recourse to move to a hospital.
In other words, while home births are often superior birthing experiences compared to those in a hospital, they aren’t automatically a better scenario, especially when you’re dealing with a disaster. If you want to plan a home birth, make sure to be informed, have a good midwife on call, and be ready to look for a hospital if things go south.
About the Author:
Adrian Johansen loves to write, teach, and create. She believes in that a combination self-sufficiency and teamwork can help anyone live an intentional, meaningful life. Check out more of her writing on twitter!