“Home Birth” in the Hospital: Possibility or Myth?

Thursday night I attended a lively panel discussion entitled “Home Birth in the Hospital: Possibility or Myth?”

This panel was made up of some stellar women:

Jessica Schneider, MD– Cedars-Sinai
Deborah Frank, CNM – Cedars-Sinai
Ann Trudell, CNM – Cedars-Sinai and UCLA
Susan Minich, CNM – Kaiser Permanente, Sunset
Monica Lundry, RN – Labor and Delivery nurse -Cedars- Sinai
Alisha Tamburri – Hypnobirthing Instructor, Doula

The audience of 100 was made up mostly of Doulas, but also of some expectant parents.  There was a lot of talk about how we can work together with hospital staff to provide a beautiful experience for the women having their babies.  But at the end of the day, the answer to the question “Is it possible to have a home birth feeling in the hospital?” was no.

I appreciated their honesty.

The hospital is not your home.  It will never be your home.  It doesn’t smell the same, or look the same, and the pillows are not nearly as comfortable (although I encourage you to bring at least one of your own pillows).  When you choose to have your baby in a hospital, you make this exchange: for the security of knowing that you will be cared for in an emergency, you agree to putting in a heplock, answering questions, getting your bp taken, filling out paperwork, and talking to a lot of people you don’t know all that well.  There are policies that the hospital has that they want you to follow.  If you don’t want to follow one of them, ask questions and see if you can find a compromise.  As one of the panelists said in response to the question, “Why won’t you let the women eat if they are hungry while in labor?” she said, “If you want to eat, don’t let me see it!”

The way to get the best of both worlds, according to the panel, is to labor at home for as long as possible.  Because when you come into the hospital, you are going to have to follow (most) of their rules. Just like when people come into my house and I ask them to take off their shoes and do 13 jumping jacks while singing “Happy Birthday,” I respect that the hospital also has rules that I follow when I am there.

One rule you should definitely follow: putting in the heplock.  You don’t necessarily have to be hooked up to anything, but allowing them to put it in makes the staff feel better.  And it makes sense.  If you suddenly needed fluids, taking the time to put in the IV  when you are already suffering is no fun for anyone.

The consensus of the panel was to do these things:

1.  Find a care provider you love and trust.  If at any time there are red flags, change doctors.  You must be able to trust them 100% and feel comfortable talking to them.

2.  Hire a Doula.  Duh.

3.  Do not see the hospital staff as your enemy.  They want the same outcome you do: a smooth birth and a healthy baby.

4.  Bring your nursing staff chocolate.


August 7, 2011. Tags: , , , . Birth, Doula Stuff.

One Comment

  1. Lisa replied:

    I love all the amazing things you’re doing and learning. I feel like I am going to benefit personally over the next several months! Please continue to share…

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