Time magazine reports decent article on home birth

8 August 2008 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

In the current issue, Time covers the increasing trend in homebirth:

“For a normal, healthy pregnancy, the hospital environment is overkill,” says Jessica Reid, 27, a stay-at-home mom in Pasco, Wash.Reid had her first baby in a hospital but plans to have her second–due in late August–at home. “Interventions that neither the mother nor father wish to occur are more likely when surrounded by people who view pregnancy as an illness or labor as inherently dangerous,” she says. “I consider birth sacred and a joy, and I intend to birth my baby in a way that reflects that.”

It mentions Massachusetts’s own MGH obstetrician, Dr. Erin Tracy, who recently drafted the AMA resolution to outlaw homebirth:

“We’ve all seen scenarios where mothers came in, after very major blood loss, in a very catastrophic state,” she says. “By the time they arrive in the hospital, you’re sort of behind the eight ball in trying to resuscitate these patients. The same thing with neonatal outcome.”

I would really like to know the data that showed these unfortunate circumstances where women were actually planning homebirths with qualified certified professional midwives and compare them with the number of women and babies who die in hospitals in the US every year. I am willing to bet the midwife numbers are about the same, if not much better, than the hospital births, especially when you include a post-partum period of seven days or so.

I appreciate that TIme’s reporter cited the 2005 British study showing homebirth equally safe for low-risk women, but I continue to become frustrated for the lack of media attention to our uniquely contentious situation between obstetricians and certified professional midwives that differs so from the established collaboration in most developed countries whose maternal and infant mortality rates are superior to ours.

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