Mama C-ta asked:
…I am curious to know what kind of vitamins you take – well, when you aren’t throwing up. If I had to do the pregnancy bit again I think I’d want to skip the Dr Rx prenatals and go w/something better…
Oh and I’ve been meaning to ask you if you had/will have a home birth.

First, the easy one (er, the one where I’m sure I won’t inadvertently offend anyone): the vitamins. Right now, I’ve got a bottle of wild oats store brand prenatal vitamins, vegetarian formula, no allergens. But when I’ve got a couple of extra grocery dollars lying around, I do buy a food-based prenatal (something like this).

And on to the birth question. I’m surprised I haven’t mentioned it before, but yes, all of our children have been born at home, with the assistance of our lovely and talented midwives.

When people learn that we birth at home, the response is almost always: “You’re so brave,” said in a tone that suggests “brave” might be a synonym for “foolish.” So I’ll tell you right now: we are not brave. Not by a long shot. We do, however, believe in evidence-based care—that is, we make decisions about our health care based on the best available research; we don’t do things just because they’re routine, or because the malpractice insurer thinks it best, or because an HMO will pay for this option but not that one.

The “brave” comment is typically followed up with: “And you’re so lucky that everything turned out all right!” I have been blessed, it is true, with less-difficult labors. But lucky? Depending on whose numbers you prefer, 80-95% of labors in this country would result in healthy deliveries without any intervention whatsoever. I’m not lucky, I’m typical.

Then, depending on who’s asking, I get either a litany of what if’s, or a long and detailed explanation of why the person asking couldn’t have had a home birth herself.

The what-if’s would be better directed at a midwife, as the answers often depend on your local regulations (the ease and speed of emergency transfer, for instance, depends on your medical community’s attitude toward midwives and out-of-hospital birth; for another example, how a midwife would deal with various minor complications might depend on what medications or equipment she’s legally permitted or required to carry).

As to whether anyone else can or should give birth at home: I believe that given the opportunity, folks will generally make the best choices available for their unique circumstances—which means that I’m not especially invested in where anyone else gives birth, though I’m always willing to provide information.

On that note, should you wish to do further research on the subject:

A Good Birth, A Safe Birth (Third Revised Edition), by Diana Korte and Roberta M. Scaer
Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer
Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth (Revised), by Sheila Kitzinger

Citizens for Midwifery (especially the Resources page)
American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology’s statement in opposition to out-of-hospital birth (gee, no surprise there), followed by the American College of Nurse-Midwives’ response

Those of you who also birth at home: do other resources or articles of interest spring to mind? Feel free to link in the comments section.

And now, I’ll open the floor to questions, comments, and general conversation. (Now, watch, no one will comment at all…)