Home Birth Advocacy

Can You Guess Which of These Women Gave Birth at Home?

83 Comments 27 January 2011

Take a close look at each of the photos below.
Can you guess which women gave birth at home?

*

Photo by Sandi Heinrich Photography

Correct Answer:

All of them. Every single woman in the photos above gave birth at home.

Surprised? Don’t be! Home birth isn’t just for celebrities and hippies, all sorts of women give birth to their babies at home!

Your Comments

83 Comments so far

  1. Eva G says:

    I had a home birth with my 1st baby this past September and it was the most amazing experience ever. We didn’t tell any of our family members until after when the baby was born.(we even live in an apt building and our neighbors heard nothing … with 2 midwives, a doula, my husband and I, and baby later of course). I will for sure have a home birth again with my next pregnancies. I think every woman is able to have one, just have confidence in yourself and trust in your care provider. lots of love

    • jessica says:

      I gave birth at home in 2010 with my first daughter in my hottub in my back yard then in 2011 gave birth at home to my second daughter she came too fast that midwife didn’t make it wanted to have another birth at home in 2012 but my son would not turn head down he was breeched , so had to have a C-section

  2. L says:

    Hmmmm. You know what I notice. There were only two black women in this entire photo collage. I find it frustrating when white women keep talking about the “choice” to have a homebirth…but it’s not really a choice for many women who simply can’t afford the out-of-pocket cost of a homebirth midwife.

    I’d really like to see this collage encompass a greater diversity, beyond just white, middle and upper class women.

    • Kristin says:

      I am not sure what the average cost of home births are in all areas of the country, but I know where I live it is an affordable alternative to a hospital birth. My home birth was about $10,000 LESS than a normal hospital birth, (Normal meaning – no complications and no epidural – the cost of an epidural where I live is around $4500). My home birth cost about $3000. Since my insurance deductible is high ($5000) I paid for it out of pocket. However, if I had a smaller deductible insurance would have covered it. Also, my midwife – like many midwives – took small, monthly payments throughout my pregnancy which helped me handle the cost. I would think home birth would actually be a choice many women could make. And just to point out even though you can see what color of skin the women are in these pictures, I really don’t see how you can judge which class they are in.

    • Lisa says:

      It doesn’t matter what our skin color is. Each of us has the power within ourselves to make the choices we want. It is not anyone else’s job to push someone into homebirth. Homebirth is something the individual has to want and fight for. For me, it was what I wanted, but also being an uninsured person, it was my only affordable choice next to unassisted birth. Let’s stop judging people just on their photos and look at their stories and what they have inside them :) Let’s NOT make race an issue; let’s celebrate our womanhood and embrace whatever that means to each of us, no matter what our skin looks like.

    • lisa says:

      Agreed and the numbers show it. socioeconomic status plays a role in the self-selection into homebirth. Read it and weap: https://sites.google.com/site/whatadoula/blog/blog-lisa/disparitiesinhomebirth

    • Ridiculous. Midwives in many states take insurance, including Medicaid – which pays for the entire pregnancy and birth. If there is a racial or socioeconomic disparity, it is simply because not as many women of those groups are seeking midwives or home births. And even that is not true in my own experience, because my client demographics are representative of the population in my area, and do not lean toward any one group.

  3. CONNIE J. AHO says:

    THAT IS AWESOME THAT ALL OF THESE WOMEN GAVE BIRTH AT HOME!!!!

  4. nadia raafat says:

    I knew the answer would be all of them because all sorts of women choose homebirth for all sorts of reasons – as your images clearly demonstrates.
    Personally speaking the first time I chose homebirth (2nd birth), it was to avoid un-necessary intervention. The last time I chose it was because, having experienced both, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    Nadia

  5. bringbirthhome says:

    @L – Actually, there were 5 African American women. I posted the photos that were sent to me.

  6. mamapoekie says:

    I did guess correctly. Sharing, nice strong post! Thank you

  7. Kyle says:

    Four of my five children were born at home. One I was transported to hospital because of complications, which was ridiculous…

    That said, of course having a child at home is not something that only hippies or famous people endeavor, it’s for anyone who is interested in being 100% accountable for her experience…

    Home birth is the BEST, but if you choose that route you must be aware of what you’re doing and why.

    Staying home to give birth is empowering and safe, given all things are handled with consciousness (even ending up in the hospital regardless of your interest in being at home). Again, you just have to commit to the health and safety of you and your child.

    My children are now having their own children… so far 3 grandchildren out of 3 were born… AT HOME!

  8. Lilo says:

    It’s just not safe yet. I’d love to do it, but most states don’t even allow midwives (my state will arrest midwives, they are illegal here).

    Additionally, I have to respect the time and expertise my doctor gained in med school. In addition to her, there was a specialist in maternal/fetal medicine, who spent another 3 years studying his specialty, in my hospital. He saved me from an unneccesary amnio that my doc wanted, just to be sure my baby was ready. These people have worked their asses off to make sure that both women and babies are safe. I am a bit discouraged that women are questioning their motives. If your OB doesn’t fit, find another!

  9. Lilo says:

    Also, I have a good family friend who is an older OBGYN. He FORBADE his son & daughter-in-law from doing a home birth, which his DIL wanted. He said it was dangerous, and the time between getting the baby/mom to the hospital, versus the time it would take them to die from ANY mistake, was too short. It was much better to do it in a hospital.

  10. lucia says:

    Lilo, I have to respond to that. There are & will always be a minority of women who have good obstetric or medical reasons to have specialist care in a hospital during birth.

    However, the vast majority of women could birth at home and research shows that when women are offered an informed choice and excellent midwife-led and women-centric care, the homebirth rates increase significantly. Homebirth is safer than hospital birth, the Dutch study demonstrated that.

    I appreciate that I write from a British perspective and that we are lucky enough to have midwives both recognised and fully respected as the specialists in normal birth here. However, the respect one might feel for a specialist in dealing with unusual birth situations is just that – I’m glad they exist but I never want to meet one & part of all homebirth research findings also shows that by simply choosing a homebirth, you cut your chances of a c-section by 50%.

    Put another way, being at home better enables spontaneous vaginal birth to occur, meaning you have less need of the specialists, their training and their interventions.

    Your anecdote regarding the old-fashioned doctor is sad, not for the guy’s short-sighted and uninformed attitude but for the fact that it denies the parents their own choice in the matter. It also denies a truth about birth – that there are no guarantees, wherever it occurs. Taking the decision to birth at home, reading round the topic, taking responsibility to have the correct midwifery support presence etc is just one of the steps towards preparing to take responsibility for the child as a parent.

    Lucia (1 hospital birth, 2 glorious, empowering homebirths in water at home)

  11. MEJ says:

    Lilo:
    If you look up the stats you will see that it is actually safer to give birth at home with a midwife. Please read more about midwifery & homebirth before you make any more decisions or judgements. Also watch Ricki Lake’s movie “The Business of Being Born.” I too was enlightened. That being said, where you decide to give birth is your choice. If, after educating yourself you still feel hosp birth is safer, then do it. We respect all individuals…

  12. Katherine says:

    LOVE this! Just posted it on my Hypnobabies of Greater Houston Facebook page. Such a wonderful way to help other women know that it’s okay to consider homebirth as an option!

  13. Sarah says:

    L- because many insurance plans do not cover home birth, many midwives accept reduced payment, trading of goods or services or long period payment plans. So, it is an option for people of all economic backgrounds.
    Sarah- 1 hospital birth before I was aware, 1 home birth with awareness and I am well below the poverty level.

  14. Pamela says:

    Can you guess which of these women has a special bond with their baby, partly due to the homebirth experience?…..I dare say they all do! Homebirth provides a special bond and closeness, I believe because of the attention to care, preparation, and overall loving atmosphere that the home provides both for mom and baby! Congratulations to all you mothers out there taking a stand for the family unit by advocating homebirth!

  15. J says:

    wish i’d done home births with both my daughters. both were uncomplicated, drug-free vaginal births, so the hospital setting was totally unnecessary. my insurance did not cover any midwifery practices, unfortunately.

    ah well, i am thankful for my 2 healthy and wonderful little girls!

  16. Catherine says:

    Physician attended birth in a hospital is probably a good thing for maybe about 10% of pregnant women. The other 90% are not; they are low risk making homebirth, or birth center birth, an excellent choice.

    Too bad, L, that the DIL and son will always be under the control of the OBGYN father when comes to birthing – he should be ashamed of himself not knowing/doing his research.

  17. Kristen S says:

    I’d considered home birth with my first, but it wasn’t covered by my insurance and we could barely come up with our co-pays. I ended up with an un-necessary c-section:( With my second we made many sacrifices in order to pay for an underground homebirth midwife, and my insurance did cover homebirth but not for me, not in my state, where in 2008 VBAC was still considered high risk and against the law. I did have a successful HBAC -but had we been in the same financial situation as with our first it would have been a hospital or unassisted, no other choices. I think we are getting there, closer to having this option accessible for all women, but we still have long strides to make.

  18. Sandi says:

    You know, I just dont know. I didnt really love my homebirth (with our first). It proceded uneventfully, our son was born healthy and happy as ever and nursed right away, but I felt unsupported by our midwives. Our lay midwife left us high and dry and sent only her apprentice, who gave us bad advice not to sew a 2nd/3rd degree tear, which left me in pain and limping for 4 weeks until we decided we’d had enough and went and had it sewn in a hospital. I dont want a hospital birth either, but homebirth puts an incredible amount of trust in your midwife (most of whom are SO very deserving). Sad to say, ours was not. We are still trying to heal from our experience with her. I lost a liter of blood. She didnt even come visit us afterwards. I support and respect homebirth and wish I could have felt differently about ours.

    But I also felt very unprepared for the level of pain I experienced. I am very sensitive and still trying to deal with it. It was like being stabbed, again and again, is the truth. I wish it wasnt, but it really is how it felt to me. I love my baby, and my body did great! I pushed for 30 minutes and he was out, I dilated in a matter of hours and felt like I was really coping well until the end. I am proud of my body for giving birth naturally, but I also cant say I loved our homebirth. It turned both my husband and I off to homebirth for the future. I think we will go with a birth center next time. Anyone have a similar experience or a comment, I am very interested!

    I support homebirth for any woman who wants it and prepares and it is indeed an excellent option to keeping intervention down (we had non). I just wish everyone a competent and faithful midwife, because without it, homebirth is quite a risky game. I feel lucky we came out on ok in the end.

  19. Melis says:

    Just wanted to share, I went to hospital to book in for my baby due in Jan ’12 and was offered home birth as one of the hospitals options, I have all my antenatal appointments at the hospital with the same midwife throughout, and she is part of the maternity ward staff, I am a hospital patient with one difference because then when in labour I still call my midwife but instead of the mad rush to the hospital, she drives to my house with her midwife kit :) all completely covered by medicare so not a single fee to be paid, just a public hospital patient… Icouldn’t believe my eyes or ears and after reading above I now consider myself so lucky that it’s just another option I’m offered when booking my pregnancy care, for the record this is my 3rd child and I have never ever ever once even for a second, seen a dr obgyn or anything other than a midwife for any part of my labour or delivery or anything xxx and this will be my first homebirth provided all goes to plan :)

  20. mom2 says:

    Not quite sure how race fits in here and what it has to do with the subject of who in these photos have hb’d. I figured all of them would be homebirthers because, there is no mold that one fits to birth at home. It could be your neighbor for all you know. As far as where one births, is entirely up to the individual and their loved one. I respect doctors for the roles they play when needed and will seek out their expertise when needed. Thankfully, I didn’t need their help birthing my children.

  21. Caz says:

    I am against Homebirth personally. I HAD to have all 4 of my babes via C-section, while i tried a Natural with my 1st he was very sick. I lost our 3rd to Stillbirth at full term. I Know a woman who homebirthed her 1st baby at home, but her next baby was breech and she tried to homebirth again, her baby girl was Stillborn :( Yes hospitals can make mistakes i know that, i have friends how lost babies due to medical negligence BUT i know my friend who homebirthed and lost her baby will never ever try it again nor promote it. I find it all way too risky :(

  22. Christy says:

    @Lilo,

    The day my father-in-law dictates what I do with my body and my husband agrees is the day I start looking into divorce options. That’s crap, patriarchal, and full of lies. OF COURSE an OB/GYN thinks hospital birth is safer. That’s like asking a windows developer what he thinks of mac. You ask the experts in hospital birth for their opinion about hospital birth, and you should ask the experts in out-of-hospital birth (which would be midwives, who also have years of training and experience in women’s health) when you want information about homebirth.

  23. linda vernon says:

    After experiencing my daughter’s hospital birth in 1978, I elected to give birth to my son at home in 1986. I saw a doctor with both. The big difference: I felt much more connected and in control with the home birth.

    My daughter and son-in-law – after much researching and interviewing – elected to have their first child delivered at home. I cannot tell you what an amazing experience it was for all. The midwives that my daughter and son-in-law selected to participate in the birth of their child were both knowledgeable and amazingly supportive throughout the experience (they came for their last visit just last week to make sure that all was well – 6 weeks after baby’s birth!) Most importantly, my daughter and son-in-law were given opportunities to make decisions while the birth was happening. And even though the final minutes did not go how they wanted them to go – in the end, they felt that their choices were considered and respected.

    I am a high school teacher and I tell my female and male students – when you are delivering a baby and all things are good – you are not sick: You do not have to be in a hospital. Please consider the the alternatives.

  24. Maria says:

    I had two home-births–one in 1984 and one in 1986. It was wonderful, powerful. and natural.


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