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Mommy Dearest: Sister-In-Law Delivering Own Baby at Home

Mommy Dearest,

My sister-in-law is pregnant, due in two months and this is her first baby. Up until recently she was planning on having the child at the hospital. Now she is telling everyone that she plans on having it at home naturally. She has no midwife and no training, but thinks she can do this with her husband and it will be OK. Her own mother had five kids at home and I think she might be there for the birth.

I don't think it's a good idea — especially this late in the game and I am very worried for her safety and the baby. I know that she is not telling her OB/GYN. Do I keep my mouth shut? Do I voice my worries? Is it ANY of my business at all?

— Worried About Home Birth Without Help

To read the response from Mommy Dearest,


Worried About Home Birth Without Help,

If you think the mother or baby's life is in danger, go with your gut and talk to your sister-in-law. The best way to do so is to be honest without passing judgment. Tell her you are thrilled about the impending arrival, but you worry about the safety of a home birth that is not staffed by an experienced professional. She will more than likely fill you in on the facts and her plan. Aside from voicing your concerns, there is nothing else you can do except wish her well.

— Mommy Dearest

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Join The Conversation
Silverymoon85 Silverymoon85 8 years
Facin8me said "It's possible your SIL can't find a midwife to attend her birth because midwives aren't allowed to do that in your state or homebirths aren't allowed at all." This is untrue. Homebirth's are legal in every state. No state regulates where and when you can have your child; however, not all midwives can attend births legally. For example, NY State does not allow most midwives (depending on credentials) to perform homebirths and as a result it is nearly impossible to find a midwife who can and will. Tell you sister in law to make sure she knows her facts and does her research. A simple google search will tell her what to do when the shoulders get stuck, how to cut the cord and what to do with the placenta. Home births can be safe and comfortable so don't stress but do discuss your concerns with her. After all, whats family for? Good luck!
Greggie Greggie 8 years
I thought facin8 meant you'd be charged monetarily for the ambulance, not charged with a crime. Our insurance will cover it (for the most part) in the case of an emergency, but if we called it as a standby for a homebirth with no medical indication, we'd have to pay the full amount ourselves.
CarlyHP226685 CarlyHP226685 8 years
You don't get charged for calling an ambulance when its not an emergency. At least not in NY. It sucks that medics have to come out for little things but they cant charge you. My sister has been a paramedic for 8 years and she has never heard of charging someone. maybe if you call as a practical joke you will be fined...but not for anything medical related
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
... because a baby's life is in danger!
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
,maybe be there and call an ambulance if something goes wrong. do u have any dr friends?
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 8 years
Thanks for the link facin8me, it was a really good article.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
Also, I completely disagree with jessie's advice of calling an ambulance. I think women have the right to make their own decisions about their bodies and health, and that includes the way one gives birth. Just because you don't agree doesn't mean you interfere. Calling an ambulance is for emergencies. If there is no emergency, you will be charged for calling the ambulance.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
Greggie, I don't know how states can outlaw it either. I wasn't even aware that kind of thing went out until I read a story about it on Babble. I guess in Missouri it's actually a felony.
Critty Critty 8 years
My opinion is ... I have no opinion. It is my birth, my body or my baby, so I have no right to have an opinion on what someone else should do. If she wants a home birth, then I guess she will have one. It has nothing to do with anyone but her and her partner. I personally would not want to have a home birth, but I wouldn't want someone trying to talk me out of a hospital birth either.
jessie jessie 8 years
wow...continue talking to her. but she may end up at the hospital. she may just be talking out her @ss, thinking its going to be a wonderful, easy experience. as soon as the going gets tough she'll be likely to go to a hosptial. hopefully that will happen. if i were you and she told you she was in labor, i'd call a ambulance and tell them. its for the safty of the mother and child. sure she'll hate you for a while, but its better to be safe then sorry.
PinkUnicorn PinkUnicorn 8 years
Dr. G - just curious where you got your stats for the US having the highest infant mortality rate in the world? I did a quick search and came up with this website (and many others that confirm these numbers) I'm not trying to prove you wrong, but I would like to know where you got that fact.
dino-dino dino-dino 8 years
lol mommy dearest
Greggie Greggie 8 years
I don't understand how states can totally outlaw homebirths. Do they press charges against women who don't follow the rule? I also agree with quivondra that it puts a HUGE burden on the husband. If she had some medical experience or her husband/mother had, I might feel differently. But her mother giving birth herself doesn't mean she'll know what to do.
quivondra quivondra 8 years
It's a serious burden for her to put on her husband. How can you deliver a baby, cut the cord, clean the baby and then deliver the placenta? Also, like some people say above, if you have issues with delivering the placenta, you could need a blood transfusion. I'm all for a natural birth, but I'd like to survive it and certainly not die in the hands of my husband over blood loss.
anniekim anniekim 8 years
too true, LilRuck! My SIL had a midwfe attended homebirth for her 1st child. After 2 days of home labor the midwife convinced her to go to hospital (3 hours drive away) where they had to suction her baby out. She was back home 6 hours later. If I had tried homebirth/unassisted birth with my oldest she would not have been born alive.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 8 years
The good news is she has two months left, hopefully you can encourage her to read up on unassisted birth. I'd be careful not to hurt her confidence, because she will need it if, God forbid, she goes through with her plan and has no knowledge and no midwife there with her. She also might be determined to prove everyone wrong and stay at home, even if something goes wrong. I wonder how close the nearest hospital is to her house? Who knows, maybe she'll get her fist contraction and speed off for the nearest epidural.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
I think you should definitly so some research and look into having someone experienced there with her. I mean god forbid what it something were to go wrong and no one there was able to help? Things happen all the time that require doctors help (csections, vacuuming, etc) and it would be horrible not to have someone there. Also, I know someone else pointed it out, but the US is #163 on a list of 195 for the highest infant mortality rate. Iceland has the lowest. Here's a link that has a bunch of links to literature and such on home birth, maybe she needs to read up on this stuff. and I REALLY think she needs to her her Dr. He might be able to help in some ways prepare her better.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
Dr G, we have a high infant mortality rate because our medical technology allows many more pregnancies to make it full term compared to other places. It may be worth pointing out that rules on midwives vary from state to state. Additionally, homebirths are illegal in many states (like Missouri). It's possible your SIL can't find a midwife to attend her birth because midwives aren't allowed to do that in your state or homebirths aren't allowed at all. That being said, I think a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy can end with a midwife attended homebirth. Perhaps the poster can help her SIL find a midwife- even in states where it's illegal, there are underground midwives that will work in this capacity.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I plan on going natural childbirth, but at a birthing center, I dont think my nieghbors would appreciate my pain.
MotoLinz MotoLinz 8 years
I watched a spot on unassisted "free birth" just a week or so ago. They highlighted a few different women. Some really seemed to have done their homework, gathered necessary supplies and knowledge, and although it isn't a choice I would make, personally, I think they took the necessary steps to ensure that their chosen method was as safe as possible. There was one woman (I think in Colorado) who seemed totally clueless. She based her decision on what she regarded as a terrible hospital birth with her son. Apparently, the nurses were telling her to push harder, and she didn't like that. But, she also commented that as soon as she pushed harder, her son was out within 2-3 pushes. So...? What does that tell her? Anyway, like I said, she seemed clueless, and it was scary to watch. The baby made it out just fine, but then she had no idea what to do about the placenta. She ended up going to a hospital and asking for a D&C because the placenta hadn't come out, but she didn't want the doctor to give her an IV, and she was basically giving him no information and no options. They checked her out and told her that everything looked fine, and the placenta would come out on its own with no issue. Sheesh, lady! Read a freakin' book or something. I'm all for people making their own choices, but if something goes wrong, you and your child are screwed, and it could have been very easily avoided. What about the case of placental abruption or something? If you're losing blood FAST, you're not even going to be conscious to care for yourself, much less your spankin' new baby. :shrug: Yes, it's true that childbirth is natural and intuitive, and women birth babies in the bushes, by themselves, every day all over the world, but I bet they're getting some kind of education on how things work from other women around them? If this is the choice a person is going to make, in the best interest of their baby and of themselves, I would hope and pray they would prepare as much as humanly possible and try to be as informed as they can bed. (That was long, sorry.)
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
DrG - the US does not have the highest rate of infant mortality in the world. According to the CIA World Fact Book, that honor goes to Angloa. The US ranks 163rd on that list. According to CNN, the US has the second worst infant mortality rate in the Developed world, however.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i think lil's advice was terrible yes, voice your concerns, of course and find out some stats and information and let her make a more informed decision let her know you can easily find midwives who can assist in the event of emergency but she can do most of it on her own this is the life of a child, and while it is essentially the mother's choice, so is abandonment and letting your kid play with matches but it doesn't make it right
Greggie Greggie 8 years
And unassisted homebirths have a high danger rate as well, Dr G. There's no reason to not have someone qualified there in case of emergency.
Dr-G Dr-G 8 years
Many women who use OB/GYNs put their health as well as their babies' at risk during delivery. Birth is a normal, natural process that should not be treated as a medical procedure. I think a midwife is a great idea, but women all around the world birth babies every day solo. Did you know the US has the highest infant mortality rate in the world? Wonder why.
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