On February 23rd, Joy-Anna Duggar welcomed her baby with Austin Forsyth.
Joy-Anna is excited about motherhood, but fans were surprised to learn that her baby was born, not at home, but in a hospital.
When fans understand the risks involved with home births, however, they may understand why Joy-Anna put her safety above her family’s traditions.
When Joy-Anna and Austin welcomed their baby son and firstborn into the world, they didn’t just add to the every-growing horde of Duggar grandchildren.
They also may have quashed those premarital sex rumors once and for all, since Gideon Martyn Forsyth’s date of birth means that it’s most likely that he was conceived on their honeymoon.
Yes, that sounds unbelievable, but some people are intensely fertile, so it is possible.
Gideon was born at 10 pounds and 3 ounces (ouch!) and, to the surprise of many fans, he was born in a hospital.
This defied the expectations that many fans had held that Joy-Anna would have a home birth.
Despite what members of the Duggar fertility cult may enjoy about home births, giving birth in a hospital where you can reap the benefits of modern medicine is actually a much, much better idea.
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin spoke to People about the health risks associated with home births.
“There are many risks to having a baby.”
That is very true. Complications can arise. Tearing can happen. And sometimes, childbirth just doesn’t work out without medical intervention.
People who give birth at home are gambling with the life of the mother and of her child.
Dr. Minkin continues as she describes specific hazards that make home births so potentially dangerous.
“Some women will not be able to deliver their babies through their pelvic bones.”
The skeleton rearranges during pregnancy (ouch), but that’s not always enough.
“If that occurs, most of the time the cervix will stop dilating and the baby will not descend into the birth canal.”
That’s a nightmare situation, but it happens.
“Then a transfer to a hospital would be necessary.”
Doctors are equipped to deal with the situation.
“Sometimes we can give the woman medicine to strengthen her contractions. Other times, administration of pain relief such as an epidural anesthetic can help.”
And of course there’s always the alternative to vaginal birth.
“Or maybe we do need to do a Caesarean. Obviously all of these necessitate a medical facility.”
There is another scenario, in which the baby’s head will fit into the birth canal but the baby’s shoulders will not. This is called shoulder dystocia
“When that happens in the hospital, we shout out to get ‘all hands on deck’ and have our colleagues come to lend a hand; we also have our anesthesiologists rush up to help get the woman more relaxed to see if that could help.”
Hospitals are uniquely equipped for that situation.
“But at home we don’t have the extra pairs of hands available.”
Generally, at home one doesn’t have an anesthesiologist, either.
Dr. Minkin continues to warn against the dangers of home birth.
“Fortunately these scenarios are uncommon, but they can happen. And at home there isn’t much you can do.”
She does mention that, if comfort is a concern, many hospitals have LDR suites designed for delivery in more comfortable surroundings.
“These are rooms in a hospital that are a part of a labor [L] floor, but they look much more like a bedroom at home, with some special equipment in the closets!”
The comforts of home but the medical resources of hospitals.
“You can labor in this bedroom, with family or friends, and deliver [D] in the bed, just like you could at home. The R refers to recovery, so you can stay with your baby in the room, as long as everything is fine.”
Doctors can monitor for things that people at home might not even recognize.
“And you can have close monitoring to make sure there isn’t extra bleeding.”
Dr. Minkin is very experienced with childbirth. She understands the need to make accommodations for the comfort of the family.
“I started delivering babies in 1973 — at that point we were just starting to have dads come in to the delivery room.”
There were periods in time, if historical records are to be believed, in which even rulers and kings were forbidden from the delivery room.
That has now changed.
“We have been trying since to make the experience of a delivery more comfortable for our patients, without sacrificing any safety for the family.”
With hospitals finding that balance, one wonders why some remain so determined to give birth at home.
It’s a good thing that Joy-Anna is apparently wiser than so many members of her family.
With a baby weighing over 10 pounds, the hospital is the place to be.