Never, without the Covid-19, would Malône have been born at home, at her parents’ home. It was April 29, in full confinement, in Raon-l’Etape (Vosges). The ban on spouses, a few weeks earlier, to enter certain maternity hospitals, to prevent the circulation of the virus, had wiped out his mother, Camille Cresson. “I could not see myself giving birth without my partner”, says the young woman of 28 years.
Enrolled in the Saint-Dié maternity hospital, she then decided to give birth at home, with the help of a liberal midwife. The dim light of a Christmas garland lit up his room that day, Bob Marley was singing muted. Taken with a desire for a bath, between two contractions, it was finally in her bathtub, in a seated position, that she gave birth to her daughter, weighing 3.2 kg.
If the second confinement has changed the protocol in maternity hospitals – spouses are now accepted, but wearing a mask is recommended for women in labor – the requests from parturients wishing to give birth at home are unusually high. “They were four to five times higher during the first confinement. They are now at least twice as numerous as in normal times ”, estimates Floriane Stauffer-Obrecht, the midwife who accompanied Camille Cresson, moreover kingpin of the Professional Association for Accompanied Childbirth at Home (Apaad).
The health crisis seems to have acted as a trigger for many women already sensitized to the idea of giving life in a “natural” way, with their own physiological resources, without epidurals or oxytocin, this synthetic hormone that is injected to accelerate and strengthen contractions. They no longer hesitate to go against the medicalized and standardized deliveries taking place in health establishments. “When the midwife at Saint-Dié hospital told me that we were leaving for a ‘classic’ delivery, I said no., remembers Camille Cresson. It was “my” childbirth, it would not be the 1 684e of the month. “
Marginal in France, fluctuating between 1,000 and 3,000 acts per year for 800,000 births recorded annually in the country, accompanied home childbirth (AAD) has never really recovered from the advent of the public hospital, in the 1950s and 1960s. A new perinatal proposal then offered to women: to give life in optimal sanitary conditions, with the help of qualified personnel and without paying a cent. Rest days were even paid by Social Security: parturients would have been stupid not to acclaim this model, which has become arch-dominant.
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