they chose home birth

A “wonderful encounter”. A “incredible magic”. A “suspended moment”. When they talk about the birth of their baby, these parents’ eyes light up. They chose accompanied home birth and became its ambassadors.

Nearly 600 people were expected on Wednesday 1er May 2024 at the Château des Bretonnières in Joué-lès-Tours to mark the retirement of midwife Isabelle Koenig. In ten years of freelance career, she will have seen nearly 500 babies born in Indre-et-Loire but also in neighboring departments.

Flavie and Jean-Jacques traveled from Châteauroux, in Indre, with their two children. The first had arrived “in a classic way, in France”, in the maternity ward; the second was born in Bléré, in a furnished apartment rented for the event.

Despite the distance, the couple wanted to be accompanied by Isabelle Koenig – they could not find any midwives practicing accompanied home birth (AAD) closer. The dad even had to take his driving test especially for the occasion.

“It was really wonderful, magical. I was connected to a power that there are no words to describe.”explains the young mother.

Flavie and Jean-Jacques, parents from Châteauroux.
© Photo NR, Valérie Pernette

A “guilt”

“I lived in England for three years. There, it is classic to give birth at home. This is part of the healthcare offering. For my first pregnancy my English friends didn’t understand that I was going to the maternity ward. exposes Karen who even says she felt a certain ” guilt “ having “imposed” a birth in a medical environment to her first daughter.

The second was born at home, in Saint-Avertin. With family. “I can’t say that there weren’t some fears, but I had also traveled, in Africa, in particular, traces Matthieu the dad. And then humanity did not wait for hospitals to open to give birth. »

Karen, Matthieu and their two daughters, Alice, 7 years old, and Charlotte, 5 years old.
© Photo NR, Valérie Pernette

A former salesperson specializing in honeymoon trips, Karen Voyant herself converted to supporting pregnant women. She is a doula and has worked alongside Isabelle Koenig for some seventy home births.

“A wonderful encounter”

For Chantelle Lecourt, the AAD has also become a commitment. The young resident of Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire is involved in the departmental collective Accoucher chez moi to defend this ” fundamental right “.

Nine months ago, she gave birth to her second child in an inflatable pool installed in the living room of her fourth-floor apartment. “I had warned the neighbors that there might be a little noise, shares the mother. My eldest son, aged 3, thought I screamed like a tyrannosaurus”she says with a smile before mentioning this “wonderful encounter” with the little one coming to expand the family in her home.

Chantelle Lecourt is committed to defending accompanied birth at home.

Chantelle Lecourt is committed to defending accompanied birth at home.
© Photo NR, Valérie Pernette

Contact: [email protected]

“We do not support home birth at all”

The head of the gynecology department at Tours University Hospital highlights the “increased risks” that home birth entails. “The risks of hemorrhage for the mother and asphyxiation for the baby are not predictable,” explains Professor Franck Perrotin, who also recalls the positions of the National College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians and the French Society of Perinatal Medicine, which do not “support home birth”.

The professor adds: “Of course, there is a much greater chance that there will be no problem, but in the event of difficulties, intervention times must be very short… Isabelle Koenig is a sharp professional, who has good clinical sense, salutes the professor who had the opportunity to work with her. But even the best midwife cannot predict every situation. »

However, the professor does not “don’t rebel” against patients who “take that risk” and ensures they are taken care of “without sectarianism” in the event of a complication – which remains rare (he mentions two to three per year).

To meet the expectations of women wishing to give birth in a less medicalized environment, the professor hopes “in the next five years”give back ” more agreable “ the CHU delivery platform. “An architectural reflection is underway to create a nature room, as is the case in Chinon. »

“We are aware that today, in the hospital, we do not have all the conditions for a positive birth for all women. It’s a bit medical and cold… Our thinking aims to humanize the hospital. To create more intimacy with less medicalization…”

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