Bringing a baby into the world safely and in good health is very important for starting that child’s life off well. In the early 1900’s, having a baby at home was the trend and hospitals provided the medical supplies necessary for illness and surgery only. However, around the 1950’s, hospitals started delivering infants because they believed that they could provide a cleaner and more controlled environment. Today, hospitals are the main resource for deliveries, while home births have become much less widely used. Home birth can be a better delivery option than hospital birth for low risk mothers because it reduces the use of unnecessary medical intervention, such as cesarean section, reduces the exposure to potentially harmful drugs, and costs less than a hospital birth. Hospitals have not always been the major location for baby delivery. Historically, midwives controlled the majority of births, involving doctors only when complications arose (Haasch). That changed during the 1940s when doctors began delivering more babies than midwives. “The driving factor behind women seeking these services was the offer of what was thought to be a safer birth, and the search for pain free child birth without risks” (Haasch). Even though hospitals are the primary location for birthing today, doctors may not know exactly what is best for the mother and un-born child because most doctors are ignorant of other birthing options. Very few doctors have actually seen a natural birth without medical intervention. Also, doctors are trained for major surgery and diagnosing diseases not necessarily birthing children. Home births are without a doubt the least intrusive kind of birthing environment because minimal modern interventions are used, which allows the mother to have a more natural birth. However, these medical interventions that are avoided in home births, and which can cause harm to the mother and baby in some cases, are common practice for doctors in hospital deliveries. One of the very common medical interventions that have been found to actually be harmful to the baby is umbilical cord clamping and cutting right after birth. “Early clamping and cutting of the umbilical cord is widely practiced as part of the management of labor, but recent studies suggested that it may be harmful to the baby” (Weeks 312). This clamping procedure is not as ingrained in the home birthing procedure and usually is not done as early. In addition, hospitals may not be the safe and clean environment that doctors claim it to be. The environment that babies are born into is very important because they are immediately exposed to all of the bacteria in the air. This is both important for developing the baby’s immune system but can also be dangerous if they are exposed to bacteria and viruses that are less common, of which hospitals can be a source of many. The authors of The Midwife’s Pregnancy and Child Birth Book, Marion McCartney and Antonia Van der Meer, point this out in their list of advantages of home birth: “The baby is less likely to get an infection, Hospitals are filled with sick people and other people’s germs, and the hospital staff must be constantly on guard against cross infection” (23). As they say, hospital staff is constantly being exposed to other people’s infections, which if the staff does not take proper precautions can cause a newborn infant to catch the infection. C-sections, also called caesarean sections, are a particularly involved procedure that have become much more common and should only be used in case of an emergency because of the many risks associated with the surgery. The rates of C-sections have skyrocketed in the U.S.; this is a problem because women who are perfectly healthy and capable of having a normal delivery are undergoing major surgery when it is completely unnecessary. “Rates of Caesarean section vary from hospital to hospital, and especially between countries, emphasizing that the criteria for operative delivery are...
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