Home Birth Article Daily Mail – controversial

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    Interesting….that someone who has no experience of home births personally can be so against them??

    Having had 2 babies in hospital (one semi-private, one private, both overcrowded and neither hospital very clean) and having had 2 miscarriages in hospitals and 1 home birth, I can honestly say my home birth was one of the best experiences of my life.

    It was calm and peaceful and I was really well looked after. The birth was not painful, I was so relaxed at home and that made it more manageable for me.

    I know its not everyone’s idea of an ideal birth and not every woman has the option of giving birth at home but for me, it was the way I was treated in the hospitals that steered me in the direction of a home birth in the first place. I never had any inclination towards home births when I started out having babies 7 years ago (I initially thought it was a nuts idea but the hospitals we have here, made me reconsider!)

    I did not like the way I was told what to do, told I was going to have babies so big I would not be able to deliver them vaginally (7lbs and 7.2lbs respectively!) and did not like the way the doctors did not really listen to me…they took my money but did not REALLY listen and they were not even at my births so not sure why we paid all that money???

    Each to their own and everyone has their own idea about the kind of birth they want but I reckon this article is a bit crazy. There are stats, after stats to show home births are as safe and most times safer than hospital births where a woman is healthy.

    For someone to slate something they obviously do not understand is shoddy journalism in my opinion…


    Hi all,

    Here is a controversial piece from the Daily Mail about home births…bound to get a debate going.

    Planning a home birth? Sorry, but you’re just selfish and reckless: A mother-of-three’s deeply provocative view
    "Home, as we all know, is where the heart is. It’s where we eat, sleep and raise our families.
    Home is the perfect environment for many things, but there’s one thing it’s definitely not right for – and that’s giving birth. For that, there are things called ‘hospitals’ and they are full of lovely people called ‘doctors’.
    This week there has been a brouhaha, caused by an article written by Cathy Warwick, the general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives. She, it would appear, is enraged by a report in the medical journal The Lancet supporting the claims of U.S. researchers whose study of data from more than 500,000 births indicates that home deliveries can double, or even treble, the risk of a baby dying during childbirth.

    Safe hands: Liz and her daughter Emily, who had a difficult birth
    Now I don’t know about you, but even the teeniest increase in the risk of death to my unborn child, or to myself, would be more than enough to get me into my car and down the local maternity hospital the second labour started.
    We’re talking about the life of two people here – and, by association, the lives of everyone they know – and I value that ever so slightly above the need for comforting personal effects and my favourite CD on the stereo.
    And to me, anyone who doesn’t is being not only very foolhardy, but also incredibly selfish. As well as having written three books on parenting, I have given birth three times, and never considered having my baby on the Ikea rug in my living room, even though as a young, healthy, fit woman – I had my first child at 23, and the other two at 25 and 28 – I was in a very low risk category and could easily have opted for a home birth.
    But thank goodness I didn’t, because two of my ‘low risk’ labours ended up being more complicated than anyone had predicted. It was lucky I was in a hospital with immediate medical care available, or my babies could have been in real trouble.
    ‘Where motherhood is concerned, exercising our "right" to have things exactly the way we want is potentially damaging’
    The reason for this is very simple: childbirth is not an exact science. It’s not predictable or controllable.
    It is a natural, biological process, and like many biological processes, it can outsmart even the best human planner.
    Yes, even those who give dinner parties where the napkins match the curtains and who have their hair appointments booked well into 2015 can be caught out by a labour that decides to go not at all according to plan.
    We live in an age where what we want is sold to us as more important than anything else. Even what an unborn baby might need. It’s an age of obsessive control. From the coffee we drink, to the food we eat, to the holidays we take – everything has to be just how we like it. If it’s not, we want our money back.
    Perfection is our right. We deserve it. But where motherhood is concerned, this trend towards exercising our ‘right’ to have things exactly the way we want – having every choice available to wonderful, deserving us – is potentially damaging both to ourselves and to our children.

    Home sweet home: But her house is the last place Liz Fraser would want to give birth to a baby.

    I wish more overindulging parents would try this. But where childbirth is concerned, I firmly believe we need to put our self-centred wishes aside, and be in the safest possible place just in case things go unexpectedly wrong.

    And the word ‘unexpectedly’ is key. All pregnant women are encouraged by their midwife to make a birth plan. Ha! I can tell you now that my first birth plan certainly didn’t include being in labour for 37 hours and having my daughter sucked out by ventouse delivery.
    Neither did I plan for my son’s heart rate to slow down to almost zero for long enough that the midwife made an emergency call and got the consultant to run to the delivery room to burst my waters to relieve the pressure around the baby. No, I did not.

    Childbirth is unpredictable and therefore inherently risky. We are told it’s a woman’s right to choose where to give birth, and in a way it is. But this isn’t like choosing where to have a facial – it’s deciding where you think your baby, and you, will have the best chance of surviving if things go wrong. And that ‘if’ is very important . Think about it. The language used in this debate is highly emotive and significant.

    Those in favour of home birth speak of it as being a ‘ positive’ choice. Of the journey into hospital being ‘unpleasant’. Of hospitals being ‘uncomfortable’ And for whom? For the mother – not for the baby.
    Now, I dislike strip lighting, the clinical smell and not being able to drink a cup of tea out of my favourite mug as much as the next woman trying to get a human out of her body.

    But these discomforts seem shamefully insignificant compared with the importance of having a safe, healthy delivery – even if the risk is tiny.
    And at least if I get myself to the hospital from the start, I know there’s no chance I’ll end up rushing there in an emergency, thus putting my baby’s life at risk.

    There is also talk among some homebirthers that the medical profession make pregnancy sound like ‘an illness’. What rubbish. They do not.
    Any obstetrician wants nothing more than for every birth to be successful and healthy.

    Home deliveries account for 2.7 per cent of all UK births
    And I only have to look to all the doctors I know who have chosen to give birth in hospital to know it’s the safest place to be. The other selfish aspect of a home birth is that it requires a fully-trained midwife to leave the hospital and give one woman her undivided attention for the duration of her labour, which can be 24 hours or even much longer.

    Websites supporting home births, including the National Childbirth Trust, strongly encourage women to ‘stand your ground’ if a local authority declines a request for a home birth.
    There is no mention of all the other women in hospital who might need the midwife’s care during that time. Thought is given only to the right of the woman to choose to give birth wherever she likes.

    How far should we take these rights? Personally, I would much prefer to have all my dental treatment at home, because I think it would be more relaxing and make the procedure less stressful and there wouldn’t be that dentist smell – should I be provided with a dentist who will come to my home and give me a filling? No, I should not.
    But with all of this said, I must point out that, of course, I think making the birthing process as relaxing and comfortable for the mother is extremely important.

    Plenty of research indicates that the physical and mental comfort of the mother during labour has a profound ef fect on how i t progresses, and subsequently effects the mother’s mental well being and recovery post-birth.

    It is also, obviously, the case that many home births go perfectly well and many hospital births don’t. It’s not an exact science. What we need is the best of both worlds – for hospitals to provide far better care for women in labour, so that we have the best medical care available immediately, and a comforting environment.

    For me, the potential benefits of delivering in my kitchen don’t remotely outweigh the risks. I am thankful every day for the care that was on hand within minutes when my babies needed it.
    That’s what it’s there for. We should be sensible and less self-obsessed – and use it."


    Shoddy Journalism perhaps but I have to agree a little..the last place on earth I would ever want to give birth is at home.

    We have hospitals I would prefer to use them everytime..I have only given birth once and it was very scary at times with all sorts of medical whoosits and whatsits being wheeled in and attatched quite unexpectedly so no way would I have preferred have been in my bedroom at home.

    I think while she hasn’t had experience in a home Birth no one could deny that the unexpected could happen very quickly and I know where I would rather be if that happened.

    But like the whole breast feeding hoo haa ..its the Mothers choice and each to their own.


    Scare mongering at it’s finest here. When did giving birth in a natural state become such a dreaded thing?!?!

    There is subsstantial evidence that has been peer reviewed/verified that the complications from a homebirth are far less than those of a hospital.

    For example Ina May Gaskin-pioneering advocate of homebirts has a birthing centre in the mountains of Virginia, USA where the C-section rate is only 6% for several decades!

    Compare that with averages in a hospital ranging from 40-65% depending on locality and intervention rules.

    I have had two natural births, one in hospital and one at home in water. Wouldn’t have another hospital birth if I can help it! After our home birth, 45 mins later my extended family were all in my sitting room sipping Kristal with us and enjoying the start of our babymoon.

    To each their own as the saying goes, but for goodness sakes having someone write a piece about something so emotive as homebirth when they have no firsthand knowledge of is so misleading and unprofessional.

    Well one only has to consider the ‘source’ to see what a sensationalist piece of tripe this "writing" is…


    she could have at least done her research…. but then that wouldn’t give her the sensationalist ‘provocative’ article she wanted.

    The article is based on the Wax study from the Lancet which said that having a home birth triples the rate of infant mortality but dramatically decreases the rate of maternal morbidity. In other words, home birth is great for mums (less intervention, less assisted delivery, less damage in the birthing process, etc) but not so great for babies.


    The Wax study has been pretty much debunked – from both medical and social care models. The data was not collected appropriately. This article sums up some of the serious failings of the study: http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=1422

    I think there is a lack of understanding in terms of the "safety" of birth in Ireland.

    The research has shown that home birth is as safe as hospital birth for low risk women with planned home births attended by skilled community based midwives being the lead practitioner. Studies have also shown that low risk women suffer more adverse effects from consultant led care; maternal morbidity. Women (low risk) who have planned midwifery led care (not midwife attended but Midwifery Led – huge difference) have much better outcomes than their CLU counterparts.

    In my opinion, all those machines as mentioned in another post are scary and are a hinderance to normal birth. The research is clear on this also – the use of machines in labour like the continuous EFM have shown to have no improved outcome for infants (ie don’t save babies) but in fact actually increase your chances of intervention and caesarean section.

    I had 4 babies in the CLU. I was low risk but couldn’t get midwifery led care. All I ever wanted in labour was to be left alone to do my own thing. If something happened and we needed help, so be it! Thank goodness for intervention! But it didn’t. We had 4 low risk normal labours and births and yet we still met some care providers along the way that felt they should intervene. That did my head in. They were just so quick to intervene even when things were going perfect – simply on the basis of "routine". This is what is wrong with modern obstetric led care and this is why home birth was an option I considered and wanted. Thankfully, we got around it and I had 4 normal births without intervention but it was a fight on several occasions.

    Maternity care has to get real. Its time to start providing women with care options which reflect best practice – like the option of home birth, midwifery led care, as well as traditional obstetric led care options for women who choose it or need it which practice standardised evidence based care practices. To borrow the phrase from our friend Liz here – to prevent women having evidence based care is both "Selfish and Reckless"


    In my opinion, all those machines as mentioned in another post are scary and are a hinderance to normal birth.

    I have to disagree there in my case any way ..without all those machines at hand my baby would have been in severe danger, what was a perfectly normal pregnancy and labour to begin with progressed in a matter of minutes to the need for technology and consultant intervention.

    I think on both sides of this, one can only speak from personal experiences and if a home birth for someone was relaxing and went well that’s brilliant.


    Mmmmm harsh opinions!!!….have never had a home birth but the idea to me is very appealing…..to be able to be in the comfort of your own home with all your surroundings familiar….how nice, to put your child in its own cot after and not a plastic box on wheels….to be allowed to go on all fours as is always my urge, instead of being made lie on your back and totally defy gravity and the animal primate instinct….to pee in your own toilet that you know is clean because you cleaned it yourself, to have your other children not miss you or worry about you when you are in hospital and to have them clamber up beside you and the new arrival without worrying about the nurses reaction, to not have to worry about what the dear husband will dress them in when he does bring them to the hospital!! To not have to stay an extra day in hospital to wait for a heal prick or a pead examination on the baby…. to go to your own fridge if you are hungry or to be just able to make a cup of tea when you want, to not have to worry about your crying waking the 5 other mammies and babies with their colic crying, to not have to watch the nurses being impatient with the new mammies who are nervous about feeding or bathing their new babies and to not want to scream at them to give the teenage girls a break and a little encouragement instead of filthy looks. Yeahhome births sound just awful…….


    Sounds like you didn’t enjoy your time in the Maternity Hospital!! 😀
    ( I had a great time ..didn’t want to leave ever..if it were up to me I would still be there now and dd is 7!!)

    I am not saying Home Births don’t sound great but they wouldn’t feel so great if something suddenly went wrong as in my case.

    Every one has their own opinions on it,and as I am neither a journalist nor a doctor then I am hoping no one would base their future child birth methods on my opinions however I suppose that was the original idea behind the first scaremongering article from the paper.

    I have never had a home birth and I would never suggest women are selfish to do so as in the article, but I stand firm in the fact that I would never want one personally.

    I have no medical expertise to back my self up but I know I would rather be some where with every bit of life saving equipment and Medical Teams by the dozen as I squeezed out a person, granted my kids may turn up at the hospital wearing mucky jeans and I may have to pee in a less than pristine toilet but I reckon thats a small price to pay..

    Maybe if I lived next door to the hospital then it wouldn’t be as frightening of an idea for me as they could wheel me round on all fours if things went wrong..lol!! If nothing else passers by would get a good laugh 😆

    Its good to get a bit of an exciting discussion going again, its like Breast Feeding discussions that always gets people hot under the collar!!


    I presonally would not be against home births – it is up too each individual but it would not be for me. I think I was low risk on both my babies but I would have been 35 and 37 – which is considered an older mammy and possibly high risk.

    I went private and found my consultant excellent.I had both my babies fairly naturally – no drugs involved. On my first, I did need assistance as the little man decided to go asleep and blood pressure dropped. On my second, I was standing up and delivery took little or no time. But, I did start bleeding afterwards – so would probably have died at home.

    In both cases, my consultant was there when I needed her. She came in to say hello and took over when required.

    There are some hospitals that have a set time for childbirth – they have a huge volume of births and want women through the process as quick as possible. They intervene if you do not keep to their timetable – this I find wrong and has to be dangerous.


    .I think at Holles Street where I had dd they maybe routinely break waters or speed things along not too sure though, but I wouldn’t be against it ..again surely they wouldn’t do something to put lives in danger but I think I personally put too much trust into Doctors and the medical system…


    No i hated every minute of it…lol. And i hated it even more when i stood in reception the last time and told them to hurry up cos i thot the baby’s head was crowning and was totally dismissedas i was calm and collected and not screaming like a banshee, but they believed me when i sat on the floor with my leggings round my knees and lifted my dd out myself!!! I was home after a quick check so really i felt the entire trip was pointless to be honest…..i would not be allowed to have a home birth as on ds 1& 2 i lost a lot of blood and had to get units…so on the other side of the coin i see the necessity also for medical assistance and intervention, i dont think the problem is essentially about a home birth or a hospital birth i think the core problem is that often in the hospital the mother has no control (and we ladies like to be in control) sometimes our births are slowed down or hurried along in hospital depending on the number of other ladies in labour or not at the time….which is not allowing for the natural process of labour which affects the child andthe mother after…i was told on ds2 that they needed the delivery room by 4pm at the latest for another mother!!!! Pardon me ??? If it were an option for me i would opt for home every time….but i am safe in the knowledge that if i go to reception this time and tell them the baby is coming that they just might believe me………..


    I would say they were gob smacked lol!!!!!


    Thanks for sharing this article, which brings about such a lively and worthwhile discussion. And I’m so glad someone also posted another link that gives some more details about the Wax study. Am contemplating a home birth and ‘scare articles’ such as the one in the Daily Mail can really make a lasting impression on someone if there were no other sources of information to balance it.

    By my personal experience with the birth of my first child I believe that EFM made my labor/delivery a bit more difficult, because I had to stay close to the machine and could not move about during my labor. Also I believe that the issue is not actually ‘comfort’ and ‘being able to relax’ and having all the ‘amenities’ of home around you. Rather, if you come down to brass tacks, I think the issue is the woman’s having some level of control of the birthing experience. I don’t mean total control, but some level of control that allows her to feel confident about her ability to give birth to this little human being she has carried inside her for nine months. I felt that (total) loss of control in my last birth, and that’s why I’m considering home birth this time. The care I received was excellent and the midwives and doctor were very kind, and the hospital was clean. But still, I feel that home birth is something worth looking into – for the baby’s sake, not only mine. If during my inquiries I find out that a hospital birth is more suitable for this pregnancy, I have no problem with that either… But I don’t believe that the hospital is the only safe place to give birth.


    mammycool wrote:
    There are some hospitals that have a set time for childbirth – they have a huge volume of births and want women through the process as quick as possible. They intervene if you do not keep to their timetable – this I find wrong and has to be dangerous.

    In Ireland, the majority of maternity care is based on a medical care module. This is why all units in Ireland are called CLU’s (consultant led units) – they are based on consultant led care. The only exceptions for this are the MLU drogheda, MLU cavan, Community Midwive’s service (DOMINO) through NMH or the Cork home birth scheme, or Home Birth with an Independent Midwife.

    Midwifery led care (when the focus is on evidence based normal birth practices led by midwives and where midwives have total autonomy) is very different to Midwife attended (when a midwife attends a birth under a CLU but still has to adhere to consultant led policy).

    Obstetrics is the focus on high risk maternity care and uses a medical perspective to treat these women. Midwifery led is focused on the basis that the majority of women (WHO say 85-90%) have low risk pregnancies and if supported appropriately, will have normal births. One is not better than the other…but they are very different.

    All CLU’s in Ireland follow active management of labour to some degree. They expect women to dilate a certain amount of cm within a certain time set. They expect a certain amount of progression within time limits. They give women a set time limit for pushing.

    NMH (Holles Street) is the founder of AML and they are very upfront about their Active Management of Labour Policy and procedures. They are perhaps the most upfront and open about AML and you can expect that if you go to NMH your waters will be broken, you will be expected to dilate to 10cm within a certain time frame and if not you will get oxytocin, and if you are not able to push your baby out within a certain time frame, you will have an assisted delivery.

    But, they all do it – NMH is just more upfront about it than most.

    It is not considered best practice and there is plenty of evidence to show that AML leads to a cascade of problems for mum and baby – that you are much more likely to have a baby go into distress with the use of EFM and intervention.

    My own story with AML is that on my 4th baby I went into labour at 9:30am. I got to the hospital at about 10:30am and was 9cm. The baby was in no distress and neither was I. At 11:30am (2hrs in labour) the midwife decided I needed oxytocin cause I wasn’t progressing. 🙄 We did not consent, sent her packing, and my dd was born at 12:30pm perfect without a stitch.


    i thought i posted on this but musta hit wrong button or something.

    she just being sensationalist and trying to raise her own profile in writing in such a sensationalised way, not a v sensibly delivered bit of journalism IMHO…

    Had one in hosp and one at home. Either is fine if that’s what u want. U take a risk with ANY birth, trouble free pregnancy or not and it up to you to weigh up where u r most likely to reduce your risk.

    Both my births great and straightforward, must say the recovery at home with second was lovely, your own shower and no other squealing infants was nice.

    I know someone else who had a child in the hall and another on the drive all well, but of course there are horror stories too and this happens equally in hosp. It just cos like everything unless u remain a still, silent hermit all u life, living involves risk.

    Seeking advice and others’ opinions on this kinda thing is fine, but it always perplexes me why it is so enraging tosome people when things like this are written, one side of an argument or the other often seems to get folk riled. It none of her business how anyone ELSE chooses to give birth and she clearly a no-mark who has contributed little to the development of the human race so why would anyone be bothered by an article she’s written? If she were a proven medical expert or some kinda dicatator outlawing home births, fair enough to get narked about it but she only trying to make a name for herself/few quid by being as contraversial as poss, surely? Laugh off the woman, and offer advice if sought is how I treat her and others like her

    Each to their own!

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