Home birth is SAFE!

A great article on the safety of homebirth published by the Vancouver Sun. Give it a read!
Home births can be as safe as hospital ones: Study

By Sharon Kirkey, Canwest News Service

Researchers who compared nearly 3,000 home births attended by regulated midwives in B.C. to midwife or doctor-assisted hospital births found that home births were associated with a “very low and comparable rate” of infant death, with less than one death per 1,000 births.
Photograph by: Maartje Blijdenstein, AFP/Getty Images

Giving birth at home with a registered midwife is as safe as delivering in a hospital, a large new study involving nearly 13,000 women in B.C. shows.

Researchers who compared planned home births attended by regulated midwives to hospital births attended by either midwives or doctors, found the risk of infant death in the home births was “very low” and didn’t differ significantly from hospital births.

Women who planned a home birth were significantly less likely to experience any of the obstetric interventions the researchers measured, including using drugs to stimulate or speed labour, narcotics for pain, electronic fetal monitoring and forceps deliveries. They were also less likely to experience a postpartum hemorrhage, and their babies were less likely to suffer a birth trauma, require resuscitation at birth or oxygen therapy.

The study appears in this week’s issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Few issues in mother-baby care are as controversial as the debate about the safety of home births, the researchers said.

Obstetricians’ groups in Australia and New Zealand are opposed to home births, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is unequivocal. The group said complications can arise “with little or no warning even among women with low-risk pregnancies” and that childbirth shouldn’t be influenced “by what’s fashionable, trendy or the latest cause celebre.”

In contrast, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom supports home births as a viable choice for women with uncomplicated pregnancies.

The study comes at a time when the leaders of Canada’s pregnancy specialists are urging doctors to “normalize” childbirth and lower the rates of C-sections and other interventions. Today, about 28 per cent of babies born in Canada are delivered via caesarean.

“We definitely understand that it’s a woman’s decision to choose where she wants to give birth, in a hospital or a home,” said Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. “We don’t have anything against (home births) for selected, low-risk women.”

It’s the second time the B.C. group has reported on the safety of home births. The team reported in 2002 on a smaller study involving 862 planned home births.

“This one allows us to say definitively what the rates of perinatal death are,” said lead author Patricia Janssen, an associate professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of B.C. “Our first study was really too small to look at that with confidence.”

The new study involved 2,889 women attended by a midwife who began labour with the intention of giving birth at home. They were compared to 4,752 planned hospital births attended by the same group of midwives, and 5,331 physician-attended hospital births.

All the women met the same eligibility requirements for a home birth, meaning they were equally low-risk women.

“In B.C, under the College of Midwives of B.C., it has to be one baby in the head down position, born at term, with no pre-existing medical conditions (in the mother) and no important or significant health conditions arising during pregnancy,” Janssen said.

The rates of perinatal deaths — defined as stillbirths after 20 weeks’ gestation, or death in the baby’s first seven days of life — was low in all three groups: it was 0.35 per 1,000 among the planned home births, 0.57 among the hospital births attended by a midwife and 0.64 among physician-attended hospital births.

Home-birth babies were more likely to be admitted to hospital, versus readmissions for babies who were planned hospital births.

“We think that’s because these babies were coming in to have treatment of jaundice,” Janssen said. Many newborns have jaundice. For babies born in hospital, the condition can be identified and treated before babies are discharged.

“In every other measure that we looked at that measures morbidity, there was no difference,” Janssen said. “When we looked at Apgar scores (a test to determine the physical condition of a newborn infant), and asphyxia, and trauma at birth and the need for resuscitation and oxygen therapy — all of those things were not different, or in some cases they were lower in the home-birth group.”

Janssen said studies suggest women in labour feel more in control in their own home.

“They feel more in command of the labour, they feel more confident in themselves.

“It may be that they’re moving around more, they’re more active. It may be that they can rest better. We don’t really know.”

“It may also be that the women who chose birth at home in the first place are particularly motivated to avoid interventions,” she said, or that there is something about them that makes them feel particularly safe to do a home birth.

“We’re not saying it’s better. We’re not trying to say that if you have a home birth you’re guaranteed to have fewer interventions. We’re just saying that the way it is being practised and regulated appears to be as safe as planned births in hospital.”

Erica Overbeek had both her babies at home with the help of midwives. Her youngest, Alice, was born 2 1/2 weeks ago.

“At no point was I ever lying down for any of it, the second time around especially,” said Overbeek, who lives in Muskoka, Ont. Both births were unmedicated, or drug-free.

“I was in my own bed, in my own clothes. I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I wasn’t hooked up to anything. I didn’t have anyone poking me or prodding me at any time,” Overbeek said. “I just sort of went naturally with the way my body felt. When it was time to push, then I did.”

“They (the midwives) prepare you for everything, even the fact that if I did progress really quickly, what would my husband do in case of an emergency, if the midwife couldn’t get there on time,” Overbeek said.

Janssen cautioned that the findings may not be applicable across the country. Midwifery is regulated on a province-by-province basis. The researchers said the findings “do not extend to settings where midwives do not have extensive academic and clinical training.”

The following comes from a list of suggested client supplies for home births, from the College of Midwives of British Columbia’s Home Birth Handbook for Midwifery Clients:

1 small bottle of Hibitane or other anti-bacterial skin cleanser

24 sterile gauze squares

2 rolls of paper towels

1 oral thermometer (preferably Celsius)

1 hot water bottle or heating pad

1 flashlight and extra batteries

2 gel-type cold packs (place in freezer)

1 plastic sheet (shower curtain, vinyl tablecloth or plastic mattress cover) to cover mattress

Ibuprofen or Tylenol (acetaminophen, not aspirin) for after pains
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service


Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody

Another song that I've been playing over and over again lately.

Have a listen.


Anthem -- Leonard Cohen

A song that means a lot to me lately...


The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.


Whitehorse is cool...not just cold!

(picture of Whitehorse in Winter. I didn't take this photograph, some other person did)

Visiting Whitehorse has been great. It's not very big and does stay in an almost perpetual state of winter, but the people here seem genuinely kind and open and there is so much happening! Live music all the time, coffee shops everywhere, awesome little art shops and collectives (even a quilting store!!!!), book sellers, a library, a HUGE recreation centre, yoga studios, dance studios, recording studios, music stores, sushi (!), doulas, midwives, movie theatres...the "cool" list goes on! I didn't really expect that when I first arrived here. I figured it would be...boring. I was wrong. The prospect of moving up here and working hard to make money, pay off debt, and save is seeming more and more viable and perhaps even wise? I dunno.

What I do know is that the lady in HR at the hospital spoke with a Scottish accent, gave me her home email address on a post-it note and told me I could contact her any time...and the couple we met at dinner today got excited when i mentioned moving up here, saying it was the best place to live in Canada, and without even knowing me, that they would love to have me up here...

Nice people. Very nice people, that much I can say for this place. And the hospital needs experienced transcriptionists. Hmm...we shall see what comes next. :)


Trees at the Edge of the Tundra

Trees at the Edge of the Tundra

by: Amber

I have been silent for hours and hours, contentedly,

staring out the mud-speckled window of a fast, but cautiously moving car

at an immeasurable expanse of Yukon wilderness,

a peaceful monotony interrupted only by the violent bumps in the

weathered road that jolt me temporarily out of the peace I am enjoying.

There is so much space for me to project myself here.

I feel I could unzip my body and release my soul with a whisper

go now, fly away, be happy”,

as if it was a wounded bird I have nursed back to health

ready to fend for itself and return to the place it belongs in the wild with just a little coaxing

and a willingness, on my part, to let go.

I am learning to breathe a deep kind of breath that reaches to parts

of my lungs never expanded before, going further still into that

freshly hollowed out place where all of the things I said goodbye to used to exist.

It fills up with the breath I choose to breathe, in and out, in and out,

the pain starts to diminish as I allow myself to heal.

Underneath this I hear my heart beating steadily and I follow the beats down

into the realm of my deepest self, realizing there is a wildness there,

a naturally ordered and perfect chaos,

like a thousand fallen trees decaying on the forest floor

encircling those that remain standing. A part of me is still standing,

still upright and deeply rooted, but also inextricably fallen down.

I am beginning to acknowledge desires much more terrible and beautiful

than those I allowed myself to manifest before.

It all began with the choice to walk away from a life that did not resemble me,

a young woman choosing to trust the sometimes unfamiliar company of myself,

willing to endure the loneliness, the ambiguity of change.

Like the last few defiant trees at the edge of the tundra,

I push as far as I can beyond the lines I have drawn for myself

and move courageously into formidable but significant territory,

hoping beyond all hope not only to survive, but to be extraordinarily transformed,

arriving finally at an undivided life, one that resembles me more authentically than ever before.

So I stand, defiant, just like those trees at the edge of the tundra,

in the place where change is certain.