Some have suggested the reason home birth was a safe and good choice for me is because of my knowledge and experience as a physician.

Yet the only time I ever used this knowledge set was to convince my midwife to give me 24 hours before doing lab tests for the elevated blood pressure and protein in my urine she detected on routine screening 1 week before my son was born.

I knew I was ok. I reassured the midwife that the nurse who worked in my office would recheck my blood pressure and urine in the morning. Then I went to the local farm where I was a member, picked up my veggie order for the week, and ate a lot of fresh spring greens. The next day, my blood pressure and urine were normal, and I had a long, peaceful, and easy labor 6 days later.

There is a role for obstetrics. In the case of a diseased pregnancy, their skills can be life-saving. But the way I learned about my healthy pregnancy and how to have a healthy delivery was by learning what my body was capable of and how it worked. And I learned this from other women. Some of these women were health care professionals, some were not, and all were mothers.

I never used my skills as a surgeon when I gave birth. I used my skills as a woman–skills I was born with and that I knew I had because of other women’s examples and encouragement.

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