I hear people say all the time how good it was “back in the day.” Back in the day, people used to borrow sugar from the neighbors. Back in the day, no one locked the front door. Back in the day, women delivered babies at home.
The reason I bring this up is I read an article online about a woman in Australia who had childbirth at home and tragically died the next day from cardiac arrest. When I read articles online, I always read the comments too. One of the comments to this story said that “back in the day,” people used to deliver at home all the time. Home births are becoming more popular with celebrities like Gisele Bündchen, who gave birth at home in the tub. I’m also seeing patients in my office who are asking about home births. So, since it was done “back in the day,” I decided to go back in time – through the magic of the Internet and Google – to learn more about home births.
Not surprisingly, in the 1900′s most births were done at home. From 1900-1930, mortality for moms was at its highest: 600 to 800 deaths per 100,000 live births. Compare that to 24 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2008. Then, in 1930, the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecology was established, and there was a shift in deliveries from homes to hospitals that resulted in a decrease in maternal mortality. Also “back in the day,” doctors made house calls – Summa’s home care program still does, but for seniors, not babies.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes the hospital is the safest place to give birth. And, though it does not support planned home births, the College states that expectant mothers who plan home births should still receive the standard prenatal care.
There are other options for low-risk patients who want a more natural birth experience, but in a hospital setting, such as working with midwives who are practicing under a licensed physician and centering groups like the one offered at Summa Barberton Hospital. A centering group is an ongoing 2-hour class that is your prenatal care and support group where patients discuss pregnancy, birth, breast feeding and other concerns. There are also special rooms at Summa Akron City Hospital and Summa Barberton Hospital for natural births.
With time, new technology and studies have changed the way we do things, not just in medicine, but life in general. Being able to combine “back in the day” practices and new safe birth experience may be the right fit for some women.
Find out more about Summa’s maternity services or ask me a question below. Are you an expectant mother? Are you planning a home birth? Do you know someone who has gone through the home birth process? Please share your thoughts.
Clara J. Chae, M.D.
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Summa Akron City Hospital
Summa Health System