Labor Dispute: A Popular Trend with Benefits and Risks
APPLETON, WI -- There is a baby born every minute, but how they come into the world is always a unique story.
Nearly 99% of babies are born in a hospital, a big change from 100 years ago. Now some moms are choosing a different route, home births. It's a growing trend in the U.S. and in Wisconsin.
But while many moms love the control and comfort of a home birth, some doctors explain there may be more risks than benefits.
Daniella Atkins is having her third baby at a birthing center, this time at Appleton Community Midwives.
“You're not sick, we were built, we were structured, we were created to have babies and so it's natural,” she explained.
She feels very comfortable having her baby outside of a hospital.
“Women are saying, ok I want to take this birth back for myself. I want to have more control and more say and I want better outcomes,” said Andi Raine, a Certified Midwife at Appleton Community Midwives.
Their practice sees about 50 women. Those clients can choose at traditional "at-home" setting, or like Atkins, they can choose the birthing center.
“They know who is going to be with them all the time, and that helps them to be more comfortable,” said Raine.
The rooms look like a typical bedroom, equipped with a bed, candles, soft music and even a birthing Jacuzzi, all to make moms feel relaxed.
Moms get to decide what position to birth in, whether to eat or drink, and who is in the room. Sometimes these things are restricted in a hospital.
“To have that feeling of power behind you it's a great thing,” said Darcey Upp. She had her daughter, Eden, at the birthing center about three months ago.
After having her first baby in a hospital, Upp said she wanted something different. So she chose Appleton Community Midwives.
“Everything was fine. The baby was perfectly healthy and I was perfectly healthy,” said Upp.
Dawn Paeyeneers also went through the practice to have her baby at her house.
“I walked up my stairs, I got in my bed, and I laid on the floor,” she recalled.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, from 2004-2009, home births have increased 29%. Wisconsin falls within the top five states, with 1.7% of moms choosing a home-birth in 2009 alone.
Some moms say they don't even know they have the option.
“They say, What? A home birth? That's crazy; I didn't even know they did that anymore,” explained Raine.
But, is this the safest route to go? Dr. Allahyar Jazayeri, the Medical Director of Prenatal Services at Bellin Hospital, and a physician a Women’s Specialty Care, tells us about a new study, from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that explains there are no medical benefits to home births. It is only a practice to make the mom more psychologically comfortable.
“There are no benefits,” Dr. Jazayeri said. “In fact, the mortality, that's dying for the neo-nate, is three times higher when you deliver at home.”
But why the risks? He says it's a matter of time.
“When something happens at home, it's going to take some time to get that mom and baby to the hospital,” he said.
There's also more staff at a hospital and resources to help if something goes wrong.
“Safety is our biggest concern as well,” maintains Anja Farin, a midwife and owner of Appleton Community Midwives. “We want everyone to continue to be healthy and well.”
She said they only take low-risk pregnancies, and are trained in hemorrhaging, medications, and neo-natal resuscitation.
“We are equipped to handle many of those complications and if we need to move on to a hospital setting, we do that,” said Raine, a midwife.
Some moms say the benefits outweigh any risks, and they will continue to birth outside of a hospital.
“I feel like birth is not a medical condition,” said Daniella Atkins. “I feel like hospitals are more for medical problems and having a child is not a medical problem.”
It's a situation each mom has to decide for herself.
Read more about home birthing studies: