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Friday, October 21, 2011

Mark Slaon-a moderate voice in the homebirth wars

For those who are interested, I just added a new blog to my blog list.  You can find it here too.

I first heard of him when I read his book, Birth Day(which I highly reccomend).

Just to give you and idea of how he thinks here's a quote from his blog::

The only home births I encountered were in the neonatal intensive care unit, where over the years I cared for a very small number of babies whose home births had gone wrong. Those experiences formed my then-opinion of home birth–it just wasn’t safe. Like a lot of the doctors and nurses I worked with, I concluded that you’d have to be nuts to birth your baby at home.
Well, I’m nothing if not flexible. My you’ve-gotta-be-nuts opinion has been changing in the last few years, a shift that accelerated in May when I spoke in Vancouver at Turning the Tide: Balancing Birth Experience and Intervention for Best Outcomes about the worrisome effects of cesarean birth on the newborn immune system (see my posts in the “Cesareans” category).
I listened as other speakers talked about planned home birth in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada. They showed that having a baby at home can be safe for low-risk mothers when such births are attended by well-trained midwives, and are well-integrated with the larger health care system.
The problems they do encounter tend to stem from riskier home births–women with chronic diseases, bleeding during pregnancy, or who were pre- or post-dates, for example, or who lived far from a hospital when complications arose. And poorly planned or unplanned home births are the riskiest of all.
In other words, at least in BC, bad outcomes for mother or baby were no more likely to occur in a home than hospital birth for low-risk women (and many outcomes are actually better at home), but higher-risk home births were, well,riskier.
Can home birth become an accepted part of the American way of birth? It’s possible, but there are enormous obstacles. As with just about every issue that touches on childbirth, the opposing sides are well-entrenched and often not speaking to one another, or at least not speaking the same language.
I think he has a good balance in his views, which is why I do look him.  This allows him to look at things like homebirth, with a more moderate eye.  

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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.