The Power of Courtship
Smooch of Oxytocin

Try the Middle Ground between Natural and Hospital Birth

Many things about a hospital birth have the potential to rupture or impede the first bonding between mother and child. For example, epidurals and anesthetic do seem to get into the baby's blood stream, so that both mother and baby are groggy and sickish following the birth. Babies delivered without anesthetic are alert and soon naturally begin to look for the breast, stimulating the release of oxytocin in mom and, likely, in baby.

Some think that the steady drip of pitocin, an artificial form of oxytocin, given to the laboring woman can create a sort of allergic reaction, or oversensitivity, in the baby. Later, according to this theory, that child may reject experiences that cause the oxytocin release. Some people think this may be part of the explanation for autism.

In any case, this article from Mother Earth News lays out a middle ground. Sharon Maehl suggests having the baby in the hospital, but staying there for as short a time as possible. She takes you through all the decision points and wraps up with the account of the birth of her second child.

The key to this way of giving birth, along with finding the right doctor and hospital, is making your mind up ahead of time that you won't stay, according to Maehl. She says,

Somewhere along the line you should tell the staff that you'll have to be running along soon (you left a cake in the oven?) Whatever you do, though, don't mention this to anyone in the hospital until the baby is born. If you tell the doctor during your pregnancy, he may even refuse to accept you for pre-natal care. Doctors are not known for their flexibility. Best wait until the baby is born and safely in your arms before you tell anyone your plans.

Her idea minimizes the time in hospital and the pressure from doctors and nurses for medical interventions, while making sure that if anything does go wrong, help is right there.