Home birth is a choice that the AMA wants to outlaw

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Whether or not you’ve had a home birth or would choose one for yourself in the future, I think most women would agree that they should have the right to choose where they give birth. Just as every woman is unique, every baby is unique and every birth experience is unique. What works best for one woman will not work best for the next. Some women feel the most comfortable giving birth in a hospital with an OB. Some feel comfortable birthing with a family practitioner or midwife in a birthing center. Others feel comfortable birthing with a midwife at home. All of these are options are safe choices, so why is the American Medical Association (AMA) trying to outlaw home birth?

Are they scared that Ricki Lake is raising awareness that women have options with her movie The Business of Being Born? They specifically cite Ricki’s and other celebrities’ home births in the media. “There has been much attention in the media by celebrities having home deliveries, with recent Today Show headings such as ‘Ricki Lake takes on baby birthing industry: Actress and former talk show host shares her at-home delivery in new film.’” Ricki responds to the AMA here, and, over on the Huffington Post, Ricki, Abby Epstein and Jennifer Block have posted Docs to Women: Pay No Attention to Ricki Lake’s Home Birth. Are they scared that women might question the establishment and demand better care for themselves and their babies? Are they scared that they might (gasp) lose money? Are they scared that women might take back birth?

I’ve done a lot of research over the past few years regarding home birth and, of course, came to the conclusion that it was a good choice for me and my family. I’ve also written extensively about my research regarding home birth and my own home birth story as well. I would never say that it is the right choice for every woman, but it do believe it’s a woman’s right to know what her options are, do her research and decide what is best for her and her baby. I do not believe it is the AMA’s right or the ACOG’s (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) right to tell a woman where she has to give birth. As Steff Hedenkamp from The Big Push for Midwives states, “a law dictating where a woman must give birth would be a clear violation of fundamental rights to privacy and other freedoms currently protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

So what now? What can we as women, or men who support women’s right to choose, do? You can sign the Keep Home Birth Legal petition and I also encourage you to spread the word about this. Feel free to grab the button (which links back to this post) and put it in your sidebar or blog about this on your own blog. Get the word out there that the AMA is trying to take away our rights. Home birth is a choice. Let’s keep it that way.

I’ve been trying to get the code for the ‘Home birth is a choice’ button to work, but to no avail. If you’d like to add the button to your sidebar please email me – amygeekgrl AT gmail DOT com – and I’ll send it to you directly.

And if you feel like a debate today, check out the lively discussion on this topic going on over at BlogHer.

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51 thoughts on “Home birth is a choice that the AMA wants to outlaw

  1. Pingback: Home birth is a choice that the AMA wants to outlaw

  2. Okay, seriously…how on earth can anyone think they have a right to dictate how a woman births? If she births in her home are they going to arrest her?

    No, they are just going to make it impossible for midwives to operate legally, thus transforming a beautiful experience for those who choose it into something unregulated and underground and therefore less accessible, affordable, and safe.

  3. It’s so blatantly obvious to any thinking individual that the AMA only has their panties in a twist because of the financial loss they face as women choose to be more in control of their bodies.
    I could never choose a medicalized childbirth for myself but it is so,so very important that this remains an option, alongside homebirthing.Preserving reproductive rights is essential.

    Button stolen. Stumbled thumbs up.

  4. Pingback: Beauty From Chaos » Abortion- fine! But Home birth, NO WAY

  5. Really, there’s no petition out there? But it’s so easy to start one, especially online. I’m going to do some looking to see if one exists, and if not, I’ll start it right away.

    Also stumbled thumbs up, and will be blogging it later today!

  6. Wow. I hadn’t heard that. I don’t know a lot about the American laws and didn’t know the AMA wanted to outlaw it – seems like a violation of rights to me. I live in Canada and midwifery care and home births are very accessible – I’d hate to see it any other way.

  7. Button is up! And stumbled.
    Thanks for bringing this up.
    Nutritional Supplements, Vaccines, Birthing, Breastfeeding…the list goes on.. The AMA needs a good kick in the rear, and they may have bitten off more than they can handle with this group of women.

  8. I had J in a hospital, in a very relaxing setting. My midwife delivered him. She was AWESOME. I’m not sure if I’d ever choose to have a home birth, but that Huffington Post article really gets under my skin. It seems like we are slowly being stripped of our rights to do anything.

    A few weeks before I delivered, a random person sent me an email linking to The Business of Being Born- but they didn’t explain it or consider the fact that I was so far along and it was my first child. They just said “A baby, yay! Hope you’ve seen this.” – and what was I supposed to do with that? Panic? Abruptly cancel my birthing plan and schedule a home birth?

    That’s just my rant, lol. Thought I’d mention it since it was on topic.

  9. Oh what a great post. I’m seriously feeling the heat burning underneath my skin as I see yet another thing the medical establishment is forcing upon us as, if we are all their guinea pigs to test and injure. It’s disgusting.

  10. What’s next are the going to require that only medical professionals can dispense bandages in clinics? Are we going to lose our right to home-treatment. Gah! This would make sense if they had data to back up their claims.

  11. Haha so you try your best to get to the hospital but oops you poop it out in a taxi so when you get there they arrest you, right!

  12. Although I am not comfortable with the home birth concept for my situation due to health concerns, I would never ever presume to know what is best for other families. Sounds like a whole lot of fear and greed in America.

  13. As a healthcare professional, I often have mixed emotions about certain issues pushed into the media. First and foremost, no one should dictate how anyone human being lives their life, provided they are living safe and not hurting anyone.
    I would never choose a home birth for myself, as I am too fearful about a potential risk or complication, but I would never take that right away from another woman.
    I would assume the AMA is trying to ban homebirths, for #1) the money they are losing and #2) the risks assositated with outside of hospital (OSH) births. However, instead of banning these OSH births why are they not requiring persons that perform OSH births to take extra classes, obtain extra CEUs, get extra accrediations or whatnot? Then the AMA would be making the said money they are potentially losing and also taking the ‘heat’, if you will, off the AMA themselves.
    How can one organization ban a God-given human right?

  14. Ugh, what next. I haven’t had a home birth but think everyone should have that right. I guess they’re afraid of it becoming too popular and losing money. All those unnecessary cesareans and epidurals add up.

  15. How can the AMA decide that homebirth is not as safe as a hospital birth for millions of women, when they don’t even know these women’s medical histories? Shouldn’t homebirth be decided on a case to case basis, when a patient seeks a medical opinion from her OB on the subject?

    Doctors won’t even confirm you are pregnant until you come into their office- if they won’t even accept that basic piece of information without examining a patient, how can they boldly and arrogantly make the statement that the safest setting for mothers and babies is (always) in a hospital?

    The CDC has case after case of infectious diseases being caught and transmitted in hospitals- from affluent areas down to the poorest hosptials. Just because you have your baby in a hospital, it doesn’t guarantee that either the mother, baby, or both, are “safe.”

    The US still has one of the highest maternal death rates in the WORLD. From the CDC: In 2003, it was 12.1 deaths per 100,00 live births. It says, “despite this tremendous overall improvement, maternal mortality continues to be a significant public health issue and commands an enormous amount of attention.” (from the February, 2007 Vital and Health Satistics Issue. This appears to be the most current year (2003) the CDC has information on- even later issues of this report, still use the year 2003.

    We have one of the higest maternal mortality rates in the world, despite 99% of the births occuring in hosptials. Hospitals the safest place to have a baby? The facts speak for themselves, and clearly the hospital is not always the safest place to have a baby.

    Why is the AMA issuing such an erroneous statement, when the CDC statistics clearly states maternal death is a significant public health issue?

    If hospitals truly were the safest place to have a baby and 99% of the women in this country DO have their babies in the hospital, we should have one of the lowest maternal death rates in the world. But we don’t- the opposite is true. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who is telling the truth, and who isn’t.

  16. Since I have no children, I haven’t done a lot of research. However, how about instead of outlawing home births, why don’t they mandate prenatal and postnatal care of some sort? There are many people without insurance who can’t afford healthcare during or after pregnancy. That seems to me like legislation that is more important.

  17. I am adding the button today.

    Man this makes my blood boil. Most of what Doctors do in the hospital has no scientific basis – it’s covering a$$ for legal purposes.

    And so much of the “complications” of birth are caused by these interventions they love so much.

    My 3 homebirths were the highlights of my life.

  18. Pingback: American Medical Association decides to try and outlaw home birth | Pregnancy & Baby Blog

  19. Button lifted and blogged. This infuriates me.

    Both my babies were born in hospitals because I had no desire to have a natural birth. The first experience was a great one, save for the injection of a pain medication they gave me without asking if I wanted it, that made me vomit so violently, I couldn’t hold my baby for hours.

    The second time around, I had never laid eyes on the doctor, he wouldn’t put his coffee down long enough to look at my birth plan, and wouldn’t allow me to get into a different position other than flat on my back. And I didn’t get the epidural I wanted.

    Should we have more children, I’m still not interested in a home birth. But you can bet I’ll strongly be considering a water birth with a midwife at a birthing center.

    How presumtuous of the AMA to decide what’s right for me when OB’s routinely do episiotomies and unneccesary C-sections!

  20. Pingback: American Medical Association decides to try and outlaw home birth | Pregnancy Blog

  21. You use stumble dont you? Ive been using stumble and I noticed that on celebrity baby blog posted about this and it said at the top of my internet browser that AmyGeekGrl recommends this site. I was like “HEY! I know her!!”

    lol

  22. Pingback: Wired For Noise » Blog Archive » The Outlaw Homebirthers

  23. Just another reason why MORE government is a bad idea. The more we expect government to take care of things that we should be taking care of on our own, the more and more rights we lose. This is just so sad!

    I attended a home birth and it was so much nicer than any hospital birth I have ever seen or heard about. Obviously if you are high risk you should be in a hospital, but for healthy moms and babies, why not at least have the choice to birth at home!

    Plus, how are they really going to stop you? I mean, if you just wait long enough I don’t think the AMA can stop the baby from arriving at home. ;)

  24. I worked as a labor and delivery nurse for 11 years, and I will tell you I am for home births! I think it is a wonderful option for women and families, provided the woman has received proper prenatal care, is healthy, has researched this option, and has a well thought out plan in place.

    I do believe that if the women or her unborn baby have a potentially serious medical condition, that she deliver in a hospital where there is access to a surgical room and neonatal intensive care unit. That’s just for her and baby’s safety.

    I think it all comes down to money and lawsuits, and the AMA wants to increase one while decreasing the other.

  25. How wrong can they be? Such a totally natural process that has been going on for thousands of years without the AMA’s sanctions….. geez! While I didn’t do it, my sis-in-law did 5 times…. I would say this is a family’s choice!!!

  26. Pingback: Keep Home Birth Legal Petition | Crunchy Domestic Goddess

  27. It is vital that the public understands how the medical system is positioning themselves against midwives and homebirth.

    I am the mother of 7 children. I have birthed in the hospital with CNM’s twice, once at home with a lay midwife and 4 times unassisted. My home births were like apples vs. oranges in comparison to my hospital births. So different.

    I love birthing at home in my own surroundings, with my family present (but not in my face) and with no strangers. At home I am able to tune into what my body needs so that I can birth without overwhelming pain.

    At home my baby is better cared for as he/she is not exposed to ultrasound, electronic fetal monitor, germs, etc.. and I am not pressured to give medicines that are not needed.

    Because of my age, I foresee in the future that I may want to call on midwives again, either at home or in the hospital, depending on the situation. I want that choice to be available to me, my daughters and future granddaughters.

    The day this story broke I had been watching a hospital birth on the tv show A Birth Story before turning on the computer and being smacked in the face with the AMA’s resolution.

    You can read my thoughts about the show and the “resolutions” on my blog:
    http://spiritledbirth.blogspot.com/2008/06/ama-blasts-homebirth.html

  28. I’m a mother who birthed her 2 daughters with LM at a birthing center. If we choose to have another baby it will be at home.

    I’ve linked, added to my sidebar, and blogged about this.

    I’m just outraged that the AMA would try to take a stand about this, they really have NO idea.

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  32. I spent yesterday writing all our state representatives about the law here in Indiana.

    This is a fight that is so important to me and I am trying right now to have my own home birth despite the law.

  33. Pingback: 20/20's Extreme Motherhood disappoints, falls short | Crunchy Domestic Goddess

  34. After two hospital births, I had my third (and last)child at home with a Midwife. I used several different positions of my choosing. I delivered in a squat position. I had a lot of bleeding and was given something to stop it. I tore a little, upwards, but it wasn’t bad and I was able to shower and go to my bed with my baby and nurse and rest. It was such a great experience I wish I would have done it for all my children.
    Sometimes things don’t go exactly as you plan but in my case we were able to handle any challenges that arose. I would hope that women will still have that choice.

  35. I have had one homebirth and am planning a second in september.

    I just wish to note that in states that have legalized and regulated home birth midwives (in addition to CNMs) have fine stats, WHEN YOU EXCLUDE congenital abnormalities and non-planned home births. (the stats are within statistical error of hospital births with the same risk levels).

    One big mistake that people make when looking at credentials is to assume that a CNM is better or just as good for a home birth as a CPM/LM. This may or may not be the case. Only the CPM credential has specific training in home births, and specific requirements for home birth, hospital birth _and_ surgical birth observation and attendance. A licensed midwife refers to the fact that the midwife has a state credential — another common designation is RM (registered midwife) which implies the same thing. CPM is certified professional midwife, which is an international credential and the basis for most sound state requirements.

    Just as when going for a birth in the hospital it makes sense to check and understand the credentials and mind set of your practitioner, the same is true of any home birth attendant. In both cases you should be aware of statistics — for hospital – # of c/s, % induction, infant mortality, morbidity stats, attitude towards postdates, procedure for postdates, attitude towards natural birth (if you want one), VBAC rates (tells you alot about how medicalized their vision is even if you don’t need one), etc. For home birth, you would want to know # of births attended, # per year, mortality and morbidity stats, do they do waterbirth (if you want one), how long will they let you labor, transfer rates, etc.

    All of these, just make sense.

    While I truly believe that home birth is better (~grin~) I would not presume to the make the choice for another person. The main place that I will draw the line — I should not have to soft pedal my choice or accomplishment of non medicated birth in order to make other women feel better.

    Thats their business.

  36. I have had one homebirth and am planning a second in september.

    I just wish to note that in states that have legalized and regulated home birth midwives (in addition to CNMs) have fine stats, WHEN YOU EXCLUDE congenital abnormalities and non-planned home births. (the stats are within statistical error of hospital births with the same risk levels).

    One big mistake that people make when looking at credentials is to assume that a CNM is better or just as good for a home birth as a CPM/LM. This may or may not be the case. Only the CPM credential has specific training in home births, and specific requirements for home birth, hospital birth _and_ surgical birth observation and attendance. A licensed midwife refers to the fact that the midwife has a state credential — another common designation is RM (registered midwife) which implies the same thing. CPM is certified professional midwife, which is an international credential and the basis for most sound state requirements.

    Just as when going for a birth in the hospital it makes sense to check and understand the credentials and mind set of your practitioner, the same is true of any home birth attendant. In both cases you should be aware of statistics — for hospital – # of c/s, % induction, infant mortality, morbidity stats, attitude towards postdates, procedure for postdates, attitude towards natural birth (if you want one), VBAC rates (tells you alot about how medicalized their vision is even if you don’t need one), etc. For home birth, you would want to know # of births attended, # per year, mortality and morbidity stats, do they do waterbirth (if you want one), how long will they let you labor, transfer rates, etc.

    All of these, just make sense.

    While I truly believe that home birth is better (~grin~) I would not presume to the make the choice for another person. The main place that I will draw the line — I should not have to soft pedal my choice or accomplishment of non medicated birth in order to make other women feel better.

    Thats their business.

  37. I support a woman’s right to have her baby however she feels is right for her and her unborn child. I would like to point out though, that homebirth is not illegal in any state. The use of certain midwives is illegal in some states. That is a very big difference. Many well educated women choose to have unassisted births. Pretending that only midwife attended home births are acceptable isn’t any better than pretending that only OB attended hospital births are acceptable. As women (and the partners and family who love them), we should be standing up for everyone’s rights.

  38. Pingback: Ricki Lake ruffled AMA’s feathers | Pieces of My Mind

  39. It’s simple. Giving birth is such a dangerous process, that if something goes wrong, they want to be able to remedy it ASAP. A midwife would not have the equipment or skills doctors have. If you’re in a hospital and something goes terribly wrong, they can always call a doctor that would be able to help. If you’re at home, may God have mercy on you.

  40. Every woman I know who’s chosen home birth has had a wonderful, safe, comfortable, enriching experience. Not so for some of my friends and family who gave birth in a hospital.

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