Have you seen this video? Are you among the 16 million people around the world who’ve watched it?
It depicts Californian mother Audra Lynn and her husband Paul Sykes calmly birthing their second child at home in a small pool.
The video has been watched by more than 16 million people. Via Facebook.
In the video Audra squats in a pool in her living room. She is half-submerged in the water, naked from the waist down and with her husband looking on she carefully checks her baby’s position in her vagina with a mirror before she groans slightly and forcefully pushes her baby out, catching him in the water and then releasing her emotions in tears of joy as she cradles her newborn son.
Two minutes is all it takes. Two minutes in which she is a wonder and a goddess. It’s hard not to watch it without being amazed at just how effortless her birth is, how graceful she is. How beautiful the birthing experience is.
Its hard not to watch it without thinking 'Gee that looks easy. I could do that.'
The video depicts Californian mother Audra Lynn and her husband Paul Sykes calmly birthing their second child at home in a small pool. Via Facebook.
The video has been shared by the homebirth midwife Lisa Marie Sanchez Oxenham of Sacred Journey Midwifery, on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube pages.
Leaving 16 million people (and growing) around the world with the impression that home birth is always effortless, easy and always safe.
An impression that is incredibly dangerous.
Yes, home birth CAN be safe.
Yes, this home birth, Audra Lynn’s second WAS safe, as are millions of others around the world. But to categorise all home births as safe and effortless is a great concern and the fear with viral videos depicting home birth as effortless, easy and intervention free is that they polarise the birthing experience into two distinct camps.
Home births = easy and natural. Hospital birth = medicalised and painful. This is an incredibly troubling distinction to make.
This was Audra Lynn’s second home birth. Via Facebook.
Let’s look at the facts surrounding home births:
In Australia home birthing isn’t common. In fact only 0.9% of all women opt for home birth. They are expensive as private midwives are not covered under medicare to attend a birth at home hence they are rare.
But according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, babies delivered during a home birth are seven times more likely to die from complications than during a planned hospital birth.
The study's author, Professor Marc Keirse said that while, “the risks of babies dying during labour decreased over a number of years, it had not in home births."
Other studies have found that planned home births have a threefold increased risk for neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction than hospital births
Home births are not safe for many, many women. In fact, they are only ever suitable to very low-risk births and with a qualified midwife in attendance. Added to that the rise of “free birthing” - where babies are born at home without medical supervision - has muddied the waters for safe home births.