There’s a new trend sweeping the nation, and that’s home births–Au natural. Many women are opting for a more relaxed, less sterile experience and home births are it. Home births are typically aided by a midwife, a practitioner that provides pre- and postnatal care as well as attending the birth itself. Aside from their skills in labor and delivery, midwives are trained in recognizing and dealing with any deviations from the norm. For the most part, they are hired to assist in low-risk pregnancies and childbirth.

Today’s costly medically-assisted deliveries, where non-cesarean births can run as much as $20K ($35K+ for a C-section), a cheaper alternative is sorely needed. This is especially true for women who don’t want the accompanying drugs; and at a fraction of the cost (approximately $3,000), midwife-assisted home birth might just be the perfect option.

Great–let’s recognize and certify midwives, and even better, let’s make home births reimbursable. Not so fast, Campos–home birthing and midwifery have some pretty powerful opponents, specifically the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The arguments against home births are questions of safety and training. The AMA and ACOG just don’t respect the current level of training of midwives, and they stress that the absolute safest way to have a baby is through the monitoring and observation of a hospital staff, period.

Hmmm….you know, this debate isn’t about safety or training at all–it’s about control. Not control of people, but of an industry. It’s the same old same with the AMA. They want complete authority over all matters health. If it ain’t supervised by Big Papa, it ain’t hapnin’. Sorry. Any healthcare professionals practicing “on the fringe” of the mainstream deal with this reality on a daily basis; but is it based on truth?

Home birth or hospital birth is a choice. Obviously higher risk pregnancies should be managed where the pros who deal with that stuff operate. However, lower risk pregnacies in relatively healthy women can be experienced joyfully in the comfort of one’s home. Hey, I’m no hippy–my wife and I had our girls at Cedars Sinai (she liked the cocktails way too much to pass up that option). But it was simply a choice–not better, not worse–just how we wanted to do it. Looking back, we could have easily done it at home with a midwife. Frankly, my wife did all the work. The nurse watched. I napped. And the OB walked in like a rock star for the last half hour, yelled “push”, and pulled the baby out–something a midwife could have done just as well, only cheaper.

Our hospital birth was cool; I enjoyed the experience. My wife got her fix, and we got to eat hospital food. And we had good insurance so we didn’t end up paying that much. But for people who don’t have great insurance; or for those who want a more serene birth (ours wasn’t rough, mind you–I got to watch lots of ESPN and presidential debate highlights, while Erika was a pack of Pall Malls short of a party), a home birth is a nice option.

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