Mar 4, 2011

Homebirth in the Hospital

Integrating Natural Childbirth with Modern Medicine
by Stacey Marie Kerr

This little book wasn't really what I expected. For once, I thought I was going to be reading a mostly technical book, and ended up surprised to find a collection of anecdotal stories. Homebirth in the Hospital is written by a physician who started out her practice in the traditional medical field, then became involved with midwives and homebirthing experiences for a while. She ended up working in a regular hospital, but does her best to provide midwife-type, non-invasive care in the hospital setting. The introduction to the book describes her background and how she came to choose this avenue, of providing expectant mothers with more natural methods of childbirth in the hospital, where medical assistant is close at hand if needed. The opening chapter describes exactly what it means to integrate homebirth in the hospital, and goes into different aspects- like allowing the mother to make choices, having good communication between doctor and patient, creating an atmosphere of trust, keeping hospital protocols from overwhelming the experience, etc. The bulk of the book is a collection of stories from the doctor's own experience, showing how different parents went through childbirth with her. Some intended to birth at home or in a birthing center but ended up in the hospital due to complications. Others chose the hospital setting, with Kerr's guidelines and encouragement to keep interventions to a minimum. They're all quite different, and show just how varied childbirth can be- and more importantly, that nothing ever goes quite as you expect it to. In fact, she pretty much said throw the birth plan out the window- that doctors just roll their eyes at such things because they know it won't go the way you want it to (something I can attest to, myself!) The final chapter is pretty much just a repeat of the first chapter, except addressed to doctors instead of to prospective mothers. (It felt entirely redundant). I liked reading the stories of all the different women and how they handled birth, wondering all the time what mine will be like this time!

Rating: 3/5 ........ 211 pages, 2008

more opinions at:
Massachusetts Friends of Midwives
Citizens for Midwifery

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