Home Birth Photo Series in NYTimes

An article from this weekend’s NYTimes chronicles the rising trend in home births in NYC. It partially credits the recent Ricki Lake documentary, The Business of Being Born.
The article does a good job of addressing the different challenges for women giving birth in their NYC apartments. It takes about space concerns, neighbor issues, clean up and hospital transfers. The article is also accompanied by a slideshow of photos from various home births.
What the article doesn’t address is the huge class divide in these types of births. I, as a doula and general advocate of midwives and out of hospital births, am a huge supporter of home births. I think they are better for moms and babies who have low-risk pregnancies. I think moms feel more comfortable and are away from the stress and pressure of a hospital. She is on her own time line, no questions asked.
But the huge drawback to promoting home birth is that it is primarily an option for upper middle class women. Not everyone has a home that is safe to birth in. This could be because of family circumstances, overcrowding, lack of support from partners or simply lack of adequate space. There are also obvious financial barriers since most insurance companies won’t cover home births.
It’s unfortunate that an article about birth in NYC didn’t address this issue at all, seeing as it is such a diverse city, in terms of both class and race.
Also, once again an article about women’s health is marginalized, this one was placed in the Home and Garden section. At least it wasn’t in Fashion and Style this time.

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