Natural Home Birth: The Often Overlooked Option
Audience: Healthy women investigating and weighing options for their birth plan
Argumentative Research Essay
Professor Vincent Piturro
July 24, 2013
Comedian Jim Gaffigan describes home birth as: “Home birth means you take the hundreds of years of medical knowledge and just throw that away. And you wing it! Hey, I can’t program a VCR. I’m here to help. Where would you like me to stand terrified?” This is hilarious but home birth doesn’t have to be be this way. Reproduction is one of the most important and natural biological processes. Giving birth, for many of earth's creatures, is part of that process. We are part of that process. Humans have been changing and manipulating the natural world as long as we have been on this planet. As a consequence most of us in the industrialized world live a life very separate from nature. This separation now extends to most of our basic innate human behaviors, including how we are born into this world. The act of giving birth has changed dramatically over the last few hundred years. This history has been horrific, bizarre, and further and further from natural. Many strange beliefs were once passed down from generation to generation such as the belief that the womb “wondered all over the body, bobbing up and down like a yo-yo”(Epstien 13). Doctors used to believe “that during pregnancy the menstrual blood flowed upward and turned into breast milk” (Epstien 10). Most of these crazy beliefs have been dismissed these days, thank goodness. Yet, many of the methods that came from this time still remain common place in most hospitals.
Humans are now more educated about pregnancy and birth than our ancestors were. But 3
where does that leave us now.? Giving birth in a hospital on your back with the assistance of synthetic drugs has become the norm in the United States. A natural birth at home is an option many women overlook. A natural home birth is just what it sounds like. It is having the most natural birth you can. Its about trying to avoid interventions and laboring in the comfort of your home. Midwives are often used in home birth situations. We now have years of evidence, fact based knowledge and experience about the normal birth process that was not available in the floating womb days. Home birth has many advantages over a hospital birth. For healthy women it is statistically just as safe or safer and should be considered more often as a valid birth option.
There are many reasons why women decide to have an at home birth. One reason is cost. While not the most important reason women give, it is something to be aware of. The cost of having a baby in America costs more than giving birth anywhere in the world. One might think that because Americans pay more, the quality of care must be better. This simply is not the case. Along with the highest healthcare costs in the world, we can also claim having the highest infant mortality rate in the industrial world. Studies show that the quality and quantity of maternity care in other developed countries is no less than it is here. In fact, many private insurance plans in America do not even include maternity care as stated in this recent New York Times article, “in 2011, 62 percent of women in the United States covered by private plans that were not obtained through an employer lacked maternity coverage”(Rosenthal).
There are a number of reasons why we pay so much here in the states. As we already know healthcare in the United States has a history of financial issues, but why do we have these particular issues when it comes to giving birth? Giving birth was at one time an event that was free and natural but now costs American moms and dads an arm and a leg. 4
Only in the United States is pregnancy generally billed item by item, a practice that has spiraled in the past decade, doctors...