40 Reasons to Homebirth
Reason Number 7: Students upon invitation only.
Women have the right to decide who will and who will not be present at the birth of their baby. While this sounds like a fair and reasonable statement, in the public hospital system controlling who is on the room can be extremely difficult.
In my post 40 reasons to homebirth I listed number 7 as Students upon invitation only.
Student nurses, midwives and doctors all have requirements as part of their training to observe and perform certain clinical experiences and procedures.
When we are a patient in hospital it is quite common to have students observe and practice under supervision. We know students all need to learn somewhere and with our consent most people are quite happy to be part of that students learning experience.
But what about birth?
Birth is an intently private experience and birthing with strangers in the room can be difficult. It is well know and documented that women labour and birth most effectively when they feel safe private and undisturbed.
This intensely private sexual spiritual event may not be one women want to share with students.
What do women think?
Here is what a few women have said about students at birth:
The downsides are I got all my investigations done twice – once by her and once by qualified midwife and it felt a bit like I couldn’t say no.
I found that the doctor spoke more to the students than actually telling you what they were doing and what they thought. You almost became secondary to the students, yet you are in the vulnerable position.
I had a straightforward birth with child#2, just one midwife and student midwife present. She was lovely, I had no problem with it at all.
Our dd2 was delivered by a student midwife who was incredibly supportive. There was one other midwife in the room to supervise. Overall the whole birth experience was so positive because of the support of the student midwife, who seemed to genuinely care
When I had DS1 I think they brought every fucker in the hospital including the cleaners in. It was terrible, made me feel like an exhibit and I was poked and prodded time and time again.
I said on my notes no students but when I got to hospital the students were much more sympathetic and interested in me rather than just getting the baby out I was glad they were in the room.
The advantage of a homebirth
The decision to choose to home birth, is the choice to be accountable for all decisions.
This includes choosing who will be present. You can completely avoid student presence by birthing at home or as the title of my post suggests you can by invitation include students at your home birth.
My experience as a student
I completed my Graduate Diploma of Midwifery part time over two years at La Trobe University. During that time I had the amazing opportunity to attend 9 homebirths.
This was in addition to my required university placements as uni would not count these births or the hours I spent at them. Mary my own midwife who attended Gemma’s birth was on maternity leave herself and the other midwife in the area was requiring an “apprentice”.
Without a shadow of doubt I learnt more at these 9 home births than I did throughout the whole 2 years of my formal course.
At those 9 births, I learnt about the power of women, variations of normal, how to really listen to women, the subtle signs of progress, the red line, alternative therapies, how to sit on my hands and how to shut my mouth.
I learnt how to be with women rather than to do things to her. I learnt how to trust what women say and do.
Each amazing wonderful home birth countered the torrent of interventions and procedures I witnessed in the hospital system and they showed me how simple birth can really be.
Remember Daniels birth? The sweet little boy still born at home? His birth, which you can read here, I attended as a student and it will live in my heart forever
My message to home birthing women is that if you have the opportunity to invite a student into your birth zone you will provide them a gift like no other.