What To Do When Your Friend is Having a "GASP" HOMEBIRTH!!!

Well first- I must admit that I too am one of those nutty homebirth-ers but I am here to walk you through the process of dealing with your friend and her crazy choice.  I am probably on the other side of the spectrum- sometimes I look like the woman above when I hear that somebody has already scheduled their c-section and they are only 32 weeks along....

I know you have heard many freaky stories about how scary and painful birth is.  Maybe you have even had one of these experiences.   These tips should help anyway.  

ONE-  Homebirth is actually relatively safe.  

In fact, for a low risk woman it is as safe as a hospital  birth, with the main difference being less interventions and a mom that is happier with the outcome than the usual hospital birth mom.   Most well intentioned friends and family of a homebirth mom are usually mostly worried that something will go terribly wrong and because they are not in a hospital, somebody will be hurt that didn't have to be.  Here is an article with research showing how safe a planned homebirth actually is.  

The truth is that a good homebirth midwife does not just show up with a stick and some hot towels.  She comes with everything from oxygen, to an IV to medications to stop hemorrhage (one of the biggest risks for a mom).  A good midwife should also arrive with years of experience, schooling and hundreds of births under her belt.  She also comes with another midwife in case something were to go wrong, there would be somebody to attend to both mother and baby.    

In general, things in birth go wrong slowly, with time to transfer.  Rarely do things go so wrong so quickly that being at home is fatal.   Important to remember also- when birth is left alone, things often go just fine. 

TWO-  Your homebirth friend is most likely well informed.  

Having a homebirth is actually a pretty big responsibility.  Most often, homebirth mom's do lots of research and preparation for the experience.  They don't  have the option of just sitting back and trusting that their care provider will take care of everything.  They are an integral player (in fact THE player) in this whole process.  They know what kind of choice they are making.  They know the risks, and they know the benefits.  This mama has decided because of many factors, and lots of thought, research, and prayer, that homebirth is the best option for her birth. 

Instead of fearing for her, you can rest assured that she probably knows more about the normal process of birth than most women who deliver in a hospital.  She is making a conscious, thoughtful choice. 

THREE- Your friend's homebirth choice is not a judgment of your choices in birth. 

Maybe your friend does actually think she is better than you because she is choosing a homebirth, but most likely, she is just excited about sharing the knowledge that she is gathering.  She does not necessarily think that you or everybody should have a homebirth.  She just thinks that she should, and that it is the best option for her. 

Please, don't assume that there is any judgment implied because her choice is different than the vast majority of other people.  I have had babies in a hospital, a birth center, and at home.  I made different choices each time based on many factors.  I would never tell somebody where they should give birth.  That is up to them.  In fact forcing or coercing anther's birth choice is very much against all of my beliefs about birth.  Choice is one of the reasons I chose homebirth, and it is a thing to be protected, no matter what choices people make. 


In the end, it doesn't really matter what you think (did that sound harsh?).  This choice is up to each individual woman.  Friends do not really want to be judged by one another, they just want to be loved, supported and trusted.   That is what your friend needs from you right now, even if you are scared for her.  I am so often saddened when talking to homebirth mamas who are scared to mention their choice to family and friends.  What a sad state that they feel that those who love them the most actually want them to fail!   How distressing that they can not share such a deeply personal choice with those around them because of fear of judgment.  So- root for her and hope for the best.  And instead of worrying, do some of your own reading, you just might realize why she is choosing a homebirth. 


January said…
The picture is a little freaky..her mouth is open very big! lol
Theuppercblog said…
An absolutely great post! Keep it up.
Mama Birth said…
Thanks! January- it is supposed to look crazy!
spazzers said…
Just wanted to make a comment on the first statement. For a low risk pregnancy, home birth has been proven SAFER than hospital birth (rather than "as safe" as hospital birth.)
Mama Birth said…
Thanks Andrea- I appreciate the correction. I personally believe it is far safer and probably prevents countless minor or easily dismissed problems in children, but who asked me?!
madasaspoon said…
It's a lovely story.... Only one teeny gripe, and that is: you don't have to be "brave" to birth at home :-)
I myself am going to have a homebirth after having two C-sections in a hospital. yes you read that right. I have done my research and my midwife and I have gone through over all the risks and we even spoke with a high risk OB. this is my decision and the only way I am able to VBAC in my area. Things are looking good and I only have 8 weeks to go!!
Teri G said…
Thank you for a thoughtful and well written piece. Appreciate very much that you linked the BMJ journal. From a "gasp' home birth, birth center owner, Nurse Midwife ~ Teri
Kris said…
Once again love the post :-)

Have to say #3 was my fav point.. not that the others aren't true, but as a non homebirth natural birth mama (birth center here lol) I think that one can be applied across the board no matter what the pg friend is planning.