HOME BIRTH IN MALAYSIA – IS IT A WISE CHOICE?
I vividly recall when I was a medical student, the Ministry of Health was campaigning hard to reduce home delivery. It recruited ‘bidan kampung’ or village midwife to work with trained community nurse and midwife to promote hospital childbirth. For the next few years, we saw a gradual decline in maternal mortality due to excessive childbirth bleeding (postpartum hemorrhage). There were occasional cases of mothers dying from deep jungles, especially orang asli commune or those from interior parts of East Malaysia.
The reason for a higher mortality is due to the difficulty to reach the hospital. The postpartum bleeding can be excessive and mothers deteriorate very fast. The other causes include obstructed labor and sepsis.
Lately, we see more pregnant mothers considering homebirth. Many of these homebirth advocates draw their experience from overseas and promote it locally. The pregnant mothers are confused. There were supporters of homebirth, claiming excessive medical intervention and exorbitant hospital charges when childbirth should be as ‘natural’ as possible. Others blame the bad experience at the hospital.
There is currently no system in place for childbirth compared to UK. Even in a well equipped hospital, the mother in labor is always at risk of dying from complications of pulmonary fluid embolism and postpartum hemorrhage. When these unpredictable complications occur, transferring them will delay the initiation of medical resuscitation
Why take the risk? The advocates of home birth may claim that women were deprived of the birth experience and right. However, it is like playing the “Russian roulette’, you probably stand a better chance if your deliver at a hospital when tragedy strikes. Who will care for her children and husband. Their lives will never be the same.
Which is ultimately more important, the birth experience or a mother to your children and partner to your husband?
Please consider what your death would do to your children and family before considering homebirth.