Silvia Longhi
Fotografia

The way home

Reportage

Homebirth in Italy

Giving birth is the utmost rite of passage for human beings. For women, it is a life-changing event.

There is growing evidence that a safe and satisfying birth experience can depend on the environment in which it takes place, and this is among the reasons why an increasing number of women, in Italy and abroad, is choosing to give birth at

home, in the most familiar place.
A positive childbirth can be a fulfilling and empowering moment for women, and it can lay the foundations of the mother-son relationship. On the other hand, a negative experience can have life-long consequences on both, often causing mood disorders such as post-partum depression.

“Women know how to give birth and babies know how to get born.”

If hospitalization of birth has brought undeniable benefits, at the same time a highly medicalized approach to birth has gradually turned  interventions into a standard routine that prevents women from having a natural birth.

In some cases, as reported by World Health Organization, excessive interventions and a disrespectful treatment during childbirth can reach levels of abuse.
The debate on a respectful and safe maternity care in hospitals is still open in Italy, a country with the highest C-sections rate in Europe (40% with regions reaching 60%, much higher than the 15% recommended by WHO).
In order to avoid unnecessary interventions or lead by the desire of giving birth in a more intimate and careful environment, between 1500 and 2000 women in Italy each year choose home birth, with the assistance of midwives and partners only.

At this historic time, when women’s bodies keep being a matter of social debate, deciding over the way they want to give birth becomes a public stance.

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