Why some women choose home births

Recently, I came across a blog on which the author (a staunch natural- and home-birth advocate) had posted a list written by a L&D nurse entitled “Rules of Labor and Delivery.” Most of it is just “venting” (which probably relieves feelings just for a little while, only for them to return in force a little while later), but it definitely goes too far. Since the list seemed to have been posted on a group that requires membership, I’m going to assume that it was not meant for the public so will not post it here, as tempting as it may be.

Some of the posts were humerous (“Just because you’re moaning and crying does not mean you’re in labor and your cervix will open”) but most of them were extremely sarcastic and biting (“Open your d*** legs–you’re no virgin! If you were, you wouldn’t be here”). The list has the ring of truth to it–it sounded very similar to some of the things I and my fellow pharmacy techs would say when we were out together by ourselves, just as probably any other group of people who deals with “the public”–so I don’t think it was made up by someone trying to make L&D nurses look bad.

I will interject here, that I believe that most nurses do not fit this profile; and those who would find themselves nodding in agreement with most or even all of it, would not act on their frustrations most of the time. But some nurses might. One of the “rules” on the list said that the laboring woman had better be nice to the nurse because she’s the one who is in charge of giving her pain medicine (or at least, calling the doctor to okay it, or the anesthesiologist to give it). If you think you’ve got one of these nurses when you go to the hospital, please be aware that you do have the right to ask for a different nurse. You should not be subject to someone’s verbal abuse (and I’ve heard many stories of just that), or someone’s coersion when you are the one who is in labor.

Finally, I would say that probably the driving factor on a list of “rules” such as this is being overworked. As hospitals work to maintain their budgets (and earn profits), they have reduced the ratio of nurses to laboring women as much as they can. This means that all over the country, nurses are having to take on more and more responsibilities for more and more women than ever in the past. One nurse may very easily have the charge of several women, as opposed to the one-to-one care that a woman who gives birth at home may have. That said, I have heard several fantastic stories of nurses who went above and beyond the call of duty, to help laboring women have a good birth experience–the kind of experience they wanted, where they felt special and important. May you have this kind of nurse if you go to the hospital!


3 Responses

  1. So true… the last birth I attended as a doula had a nurse who was not so nice. It reminded me in a hospital you can not choose who is with you. I reminded the parents a few times they could ask for a new nurse, but they did not choose to do so.

  2. Have you read the “Nurse’s Guide to Managing Failure” on the Breast & Belly blog, Kathy?


    It is a stunning post. Very angry and almost disturbing to read because it is SO sad and rings SO true.


  3. I chose home birth all three times (firing an OB the first time), b/c I wanted the safest birth possible.

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