21 June, 2009

Home Birth is Cleaner and Greener

I started thinking about this several years ago after attending an Earth Day festival and deciding that midwives should be represented. My original notes are scribbled on the inside cover of the fabulous Birthsong Midwifery Workbook!

Your home is populated by your family's normal flora. Other birth sites may breed 'superbugs' such as MRSA or C. difficile. Babies are meant to be populated by their mother's flora.

Home birth is less wasteful:

  • you use your own cups, pitchers and bowls; not disposable plastic items
  • no plastic IV bags or tubing
  • you may choose washable cloth underpads instead of single-use, plastic-backed 'chux' pads
  • no paper external fetal monitor printout
  • minimal vaginal examinations means fewer gloves are used
  • umbilical cord is clamped with a sterile, stainless-steel clamp, a small latex band OR if you choose a Lotus Birth, no clamp or band at all.

Home birth uses less electricity:

  • maternal-fetal well-being is assessed by a person, not by a machine
  • baby's heart rate is checked intermittently rather than continuously (studies indicate this method is both safe and effective)
  • lights are dimmed; many people opt to birth by candlelight
  • newborn warmth is provided by mother and partner's bodies, not an isolated machine

At a home birth, your placenta is not labeled as medical waste to be incinerated. We respectfully suggest you:

  1. Make it into medicine, or
  2. Return it to the land or the sea.

More ideas are welcome. For instance, I couldn't come up with a succinct way to say "no teeny-tiny UPC stickers affixed to every item, peeled off, and stuck to a billing form in your chart."

Here's a similar blog piece about homebirth reducing your carbon footprint.


Sam said...

If you are lucky like us, your midwife does your prenatal appointments in your or their home. This means no office running AC/heat and electricity.

Terra Rafael said...

Less use of drugs means less industrial waste producing it and less medical waste afterwards-- instead using herbs and hands-on healing techniques that come from and return to nature more ecologically.