Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Home Birth Just as Safe or Safer Than Hospital Birth
A new study by Canadian researchers published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) concludes that planned home births with a midwife in attendance have comparable or better outcomes than hospital births in Canada.
The researchers explain:
"Planned home birth attended by a registered midwife was associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of obstetric interventions and other adverse perinatal outcomes compared with planned hospital birth attended by a midwife or physician."
Canadian families who chose to give birth at home suffered from fewer iatrogenic complications, according to the study which compared data from over 2,500 births in British Columbia. Women birthing at home were less likely to experience:
-Electronic fetal monitoring
-Augmentation of labor (this is a fancy way of saying drug-induced labor, which can be very painful and have other negative consequences)
-Assisted vaginal delivery
Better for the Mother, Better for the Baby
The researchers write: "Compared with women who planned a midwife-attended hospital birth, those who planned a home birth were less likely to have a newborn who had birth trauma, required resuscitation at birth, or required oxygen therapy beyond 24 hours."
You can read the entire study here.
So should you consider a home birth? Yes. Even the most conservative birth advisors will tell an expectant couple to labor at home for as long as possible to avoid unnecessary complications at the hospital. Ina May Gaskin, perhaps the most famous midwife in America, estimates that the first stage of labor (that is, before pushing) usually takes at least 15 hours but in a hospital women are rushed, stressed out, and on a time line. They are told their bodies are inadequate or they are having "failure to progress," even though normal, healthy labors can take three or four days and this kind of negative feedback can discourage a laboring woman and make her doubt herself and her body's ability to birth. If an animal in nature is laboring and senses a predator (comparable to a discouraging doctor in a hospital), her labor will stop. In America, the more a doctor intervenes, the more money the hospital makes. How can we trust people who have a vested monetary interest in medicalizing labor to make the right decisions?
Birth is a natural process that women have been doing successfully (out of the hospital) for thousands of years.
The safest thing you can do for your wife, yourself, and your baby is stay home.