Why Home Birth Matters
Back in stock mid-July 2020.
In the 21st century, women are supposed to have a choice about where they give birth. But when that choice is home, women often encounter obstacles, despite robust evidence that birth at home is safe, beneficial and should be available for women who want it.
Why Home Birth Matters is a clear discussion of the reality of modern home birth, which aims to show how the home environment supports and powers the birth process, while encouraging parents to consider how it might work for them.
"I am often asked to recommend reading to assist birth preparation and if I had to choose just one book this perfect pocket size companion would be it. The title might suggest that it’s specifically for home birth. In actual fact it is the most relatable, well considered and digestible book about how to preserve physiological birth in any setting that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Very few books tell you what it’s going to feel like or how not to inadvertently derail your plans. If you have to make an investment in one book whether you are planning a home birth, being in a midwife led unit or hospital ward - this one will give you a good grounding in understanding what birth requires and practical tips to achieve it." Holistic doula, Instagram
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Handy bag-sized manual
Natalie Meddings is a doula and the founder of Tell Me A Good Birth Story, so sharing positive tales of birth is her way of life. She knows this subject extremely well, and has already covered it extensively in her previous book, How To Have A Baby. Her latest book fits nicely into the Why It Matters series, adding a good helping of How It Works so that this handy little text is both political and practical. Meddings examines current attitudes to birth generally, and homebirth in particular, both from the medical perspective and that of the general public. However her own perspective, that “birth has never been safer” (p17) guides the reader as she explains the how and why of homebirth in a way that makes both logical and intuitive sense. For expectant women and their partners, this book has a useful level of detail, making homebirth a realistic possibility, and without neglecting potential “forks in the road” (p109). This is a good resource for getting informed, and for navigating the various faces of the health service in a positive and productive way. This is the kind of little manual that you really could carry around with your pregnancy notes, dipping in as needed or wanted, to really immerse yourself in the way of birth.
Good book but lacking in breastfeeding information
Why Home Birth Matters was a very accessible and enjoyable book. However, I have mixed feelings about it. On the whole, it was a really positive book, showing how and why somebody might choose to have a home birth. It explained well why giving birth at home can be such a positive and straightforward experience. Having had previous experience of both home and hospital births, the book had me reminiscing about my own previous experiences. The author was able to evoke some of the powerful feelings and emotions involved in giving birth, particularly a positive birth. I would suggest this book to somebody who was thinking about a home birth. However, any suggestions would have to come with some caveats. I felt that the book was too black and white, without enough acknowledgement that some things work for some women but not others. I bristled a bit when the book told me that doing certain things was wrong or an error, or that I should feel a particular way. Having spoken with many women over the years and heard many birth stories, whilst I would agree that home births tend to lead to positive births, this is not always the case. I have heard enough stories of incredibly positive hospital births and less positive home births. I would have liked to have the book recognise this fact, as I felt that it was saying that a home birth is by definition a positive birth. This runs the risk of setting women up for disappointment, if they choose to have a home birth and then end up with a less positive experience. Secondly, I was surprised to see so little mention of breastfeeding. So many women choose to give birth at home because they want to maximise their chances of getting breastfeeding off to a good start. I was surprised that this was not mentioned. In addition, when the author described what birth might be like, I was startled to read the suggestion of lying on one’s side and cuddling up with the baby. Whilst this might feel like the right thing for some women, on the whole, we know that physiologically, the baby is going to expect to have their first feed at this point. This is more likely to happen with the mother reclined and the baby on her chest. However, no mention was made of breastfeeding in this context, which was disappointing, as the first feed is normally considered part of birth. The omission of breastfeeding in the context of birth seemed out of place. I did feel that the points mentioned above were disappointing enough that I have given it four stars. Having said all of that, it was still a very enjoyable book to read, and I would recommend it to others, with these caveats.