GateHouse Media recently reported on the trend of more expectant mothers deciding to give birth outside of a hospital, with labor and delivery overseen with a midwife or doula. Many mothers who choose this route say it is a rejection of the sterile and sometimes impersonal experience of a hospital maternity ward, with through-the-roof cesarean section rates, over-prescribed cocktails of powerful pain medications and a hangover of hospital bills.
But birth outside of a hospital setting has its own costs. GateHouse reports that just in Sarasota County, 1 in 3 home and birth center deliveries ended at a local hospital. Doctors and paramedics say often by the time they are transferred to a hospital, the women have been in labor for three or four days. They’re scared, exhausted, fevered and have higher rates of infection.
Although midwives and birthing centers point to the many successful deliveries they’ve overseen, the problem is that labor in itself is known to be incredibly risky. When something goes wrong, midwives and birthing centers may be unprepared to handle it. Continue reading