I’ve seen and read many articles about the benefits of hospital births, but never have I been so upset as to why parents decide to have a child at the hospital. As I was reading part two of Get Me Out by Randi Hutter Epstein, I learned how the mid 1850’s-1900’s was a time period for frustrated women. Childbirth is something important to society, especially to a mother as the mom is the one carrying the baby inside of her for nine months, but not just that. It is in the female’s nature to care and get attached and by that I mean if a mother gets pregnant, wanting the baby or not, deep inside the mother has formed a bond with the soon to be “earth” human. No mother wishes to lose their baby, therefore willing to take whatever measures to ensure a safe birth.
Because little knowledge was known back then about childbirths and bacteria, the rates of baby deaths and Childbed fever were extremely high. As time progressed, society had witnessed and experienced a roller coaster of events which include “solutions” to pregnancy before and after problems. Some of these “solutions” included drugs for pain, such as cocaine, opium quinine, nitrous oxide, etc. All though the drugs did not help with the pain, it did speed the process of birth. Thank god cocaine and these drugs are in no longer use today. Because females went through a time period in which they loved hospitals more than midwives, hospitals, mostly for money and publicity/popularity, hurried in with solutions to ensure a “safer” and “painless” birth. What might have been the answer? Drugs of course.
A very famous idea brought up back then was twilight sleep, which is basically being drugged to not remember a thing; “…combined morphine and scopolamine, a potentially toxic cocktail that included analgesia and amnesia, not anesthesia…Anesthesia provides complete pain relief and unconsciousness. Analgesia offers partial pain relief. The added amnesia meant that women felt pain but forgot about it…” (page 79). No person wants to go through pain, especially pregnant woman, but I find it extremely depressing for a woman to actually take a toxic cocktail just to be in comfort. As stated in the quote, the mother would have experienced pain, but forget about it. Not many females processed the fact that they were being drugged with unsafe “medications”. Too much would cause death, too little would cause pain, so why risk it at all? Many of the doctors back then weren’t even to be close to considered as doctors today.
Because hospitals were more about money (still is today) and publicity/attention to the founder(s), they couldn’t care any less as to who worked as staff; “I hope I do not behave too badly. You see, this is the first baby I’ve had’…“This is the first baby I’ve ever seen a baby born”” (page 64-65). Due to pregnancy hospitals not being of high attention back then, staff (aka doctors/nurses) did not have to go through multiple exams to see if they qualified. The test part was optional, being hired was basically guaranteed, yet mother’s still chose hospitals.
Due to all of the rage and hate between midwives and hospitals, the idea of homebirth turned wicked. Home births were becoming less and less popular while hospitals gained the fame. All this fame did get the hospitals excited, therefore trying even more insane things. Of course, a pregnant mother didn’t really pay attention to the craziness as they were half drugged and or half ready to get the baby out with comfort. Today, half of the methods used back then are in no longer use, but, homebirth and midwives is still a thing, but at low rates, slowly increasing once again.
With all of the advanced technology today, it is surly to say that women prefer hospitals than home births. Obviously, methods used at the hospital have progressed compared to back then and cocaine is in no longer use, which is a good thing. I decided to investigate and see the comparison of hospital births and home births. What I found and read was quite interesting. Back then, home births was the normal thing until twilight sleep came in along with all these drugs. People claimed that hospitals were safer and cleaner, yet doctors were inspecting dead mothers trying to find answers as to why they died and then went to assist with a child birth, not washing or sanitizing themselves. Of course later on, doctors learned more about bacteria and the consequences.
Today, we are cleaner and more aware in hospitals AND home births. As stated in Women’s Health & Birth Care, home births are just as safe if not better than hospital births as labor can progress normally and risk of infections and such is at a lower rate. Yes, things can always go wrong but the odds are just about the same as the hospitals. As time has passed, the idea of hospitals being better have solid while the idea of home births remains the same, not considered by many. Midwives must go through intense training, not exactly the same as a nurse, but the coverage of knowledge is enough for a midwife to act in any given circumstance(s).
Slowly, all though home births are still not at the top rank, they are indeed becoming known once again. “Women are becoming increasingly unhappy with their hospital birth experiences as the result of a multitude of factors…” As listed, one of the factors seems to be drugs; “The truth is that a woman’s body is designed to procreate and give birth”. Like it or not, pain is part of our nature. I do agree with this recent quote. Males have a body that allow them to do different things and tolerate different pains. If a male were able to give birth, they would feel our pain, but because they can’t, if one were to give birth, it’s safe to say they would pass out or something. On the other hand, the female body has specific body parts and organs that allow the body to hold, breed and release a baby. If drugs weren’t to come up back then, all females would give birth without them.
Because of all the medications and change of circumstances, the human body has become bonded to drugs and medications, therefore making it an automatic thing for a mother to be drugged up while giving birth. Many people have the idea that home births are nothing but pain. Any kind of birth is with pain, tolerable of course. Breathing techniques, meditations and such are things that are optional during home births. Personally, I believe that a non-drugged birth is more meaningful. I wouldn’t want to be drugged while giving birth to my child. I feel like the bond would be more personal and memorable. Yes, some people need medication, but we should be aware of the high consequences of the medications to ourselves and the baby. We need to reeducate ourselves when it comes to the actual dangers of birth. Truth is, it’s all mental.