Home birth is back in trend: all thanks to Covid

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According to the latest numbers of some researches, the number of mothers who have chosen to give birth at home due to Covid has increased, but why?

Back to the past? No, perhaps a choice dictated by the fear of contagion.

Well it seems that in Europe, there are many expectant women who have chosen or are informed about how to give birth at home .

The pandemic has definitely changed the way women experience pregnancy , childbirth and postpartum.

Although Covid does not seem to have such harmful effects on women and their children, the fear of contracting the virus and infecting the future unborn child has made gestation a much more special moment than usual.

Even the usual routine visits have become a delicate moment, although the hospital procedure has not changed so much.

Unfortunately, however, the fear of being infected has triggered a source of concern and great anxiety in mothers.

As is also known, the most important changes concerned:

  • courses prepared to be moved online ;
  • the presence in the delivery room of the spouse / partner / reference person who was no longer possible to admit.

This obviously led women to live the moment in total solitude and in the grip of various fears . The risk of all this is that many women have fallen into perinatal depression.

In addition, many mothers also told of having experienced obstetric violence during childbirth

However, the pandemic has radically changed the way women experience pregnancy, let’s see how.

With Covid, many mothers have chosen to give birth at home

Because of all these fears and uncertainties, many women both in Europe and in the rest of the world as well as in the US have decided to downsize their plans for having children.

At the same time, however, many others taken by the scourge have taken into consideration the possibility of giving birth at home and also of doing it without medical assistance .

But what happened then?

In the UK, as Hannah Summers reported in The Guardian , there has been a return to free-birthing . What is it about?

It happened that in the United Kingdom with the first lockdown, as the pressure on the health system grew, staff were scarce and normal childbirth services were suspended, many women have opted for free-birthing, that is, to face labor at home without medical assistance. .

According to the Officer for National Statistics , women in the United Kingdom and Wales who choose free childbirth are about 2%, but according to research done by King’s College London, during the first lockdown, at least one in 20 mothers, that is 5%, seriously considered the option of giving birth at home .

This increase was also recorded by the many British associations of independent midwives and doulas which received far more requests than usual.

In the same period also in Italy there was a greater interest in the issue, as well as in Spain . From what El Paìs reports, the fear of contagion has tripled the requests to give birth to the unborn child at home.

The same data also occurred in Australia .

The reasons reported by studies and articles all revolve around the fear of contagion and loneliness, as well as the sense of constraint.

An effect that is really sobering, since births of this type are quite dangerous, especially free ones compared to assisted home birth.

Although most births are not complicated, in many situations, however, the presence of a midwife or qualified healthcare professional is necessary to avoid the death of the mother or baby.

What is good to keep in mind is the fact that a woman who decides to give birth at home must necessarily be followed by at least one specialized health professional.

The research that lead a mother to give birth at home:

  • more holistic view of pregnancy;
  • need to feel in control of your own body
  • desire to give birth in a more comfortable environment
  • cultural or religious reasons

According to the SIN, however, the birth event should be a little less medicalized to avoid frightening future mothers. Here is what he said on the matter: “to ensure that home birth does not cause unnecessary and unacceptable risks for mothers and babies, it is necessary that some fundamental safety requirements are respected. It is necessary to correctly identify the absolute risk factors […] Home birth must be part of a system of assistance to pregnancy and childbirth that is well integrated with hospitals, as is the case, for example, in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands ”.

In short, the gist of it all is that the pandemic has made us open our eyes to another issue that of supporting mothers whatever decision they make regarding childbirth at home or in hospital.

So a free, informed and aware choice , not a fallback solution dictated by fear or the inadequacy of the health system.

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