American Home Birth in the 21st Century: Implications on Health and Culture
|Strand, Nicolle K.
|Fuhrman, Sara D.
|Every year more and more families are choosing home birth over the hospital. There is a growing movement, in person and online, of parents opting-out of hospital birth, sharing their stories, and encouraging others to do the same. At the same time, the United States is reckoning with its abysmal maternal mortality rates- the majority of which are the result of poor management of dangerous pregnancy complications. How can these two phenomena exist within the same social and cultural conversation? The landscape of home birth in the United States is complex. Data on the safety of home birth is limited, but it appears to be more dangerous than hospital birth. Further complicating the picture is a fractured, private American healthcare system, but families choosing to birth at home are highly motivated to navigate through it. We present multiple theories to explain why so many birthing people are opting for the home, some of which include feminist philosophical arguments, the romanticization of birth, the contemporary all-natural movement, and a strong distrust of our racist medical system. These arguments shed light on the flaws and inadequacies of our maternal healthcare system, and as a medical community we must actively work to alleviate them. We need to nationally and locally address maternal safety and implement practices to dismantle systemic racism within our institutions. While we address maternal mortality, we must also take steps to make home birth an equally safe option for parents who choose it.
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|American Home Birth in the 21st Century: Implications on Health and Culture
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