The Safety of Homebirth

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Most families that choose to birth out of the hospital have done their research. They know that birthing at home or in a birth center with a trained midwife is a very safe option with lower rates of interventions and high patient satisfaction but now you no longer have to search and search for studies regarding homebirth which are often buried by cultural anecdotes and message boards. Finally, there is an Annotated Guide to the Literature, published by the Division of Midwifery in the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia in collaboration with the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the Midwives Alliance of North America.  

 

Since the first Medical Schools were opened (which at the time, would not allow women to enroll) and the first physicians arrived in the United States; trained midwives have struggled to retain the right to practice the art and science of their craft. What started as witch hunts, continues today with negative propaganda, misinformation and restrictive legislation.

 

The cesarean delivery rate in the U.S. continues to soar to over 33%, well above the rate of 10% - 15% deemed appropriate by the World Health Organization. Yet, even low-risk women in the U.S. accept the risks of hospital policies and interventions  for a false sense of security. Our society has been convinced that procedures like induction and epidurals do not have risks and that birthing in the hospital means that all will be well. This idea is perpetuated by the fact that most mal-practice settlements restrict the family from making any public statements about the case. Meanwhile, midwives around the world are jailed despite the excellent care they provide.

 

With this said, there has also been an unsafe and unhealthy swing in the opposite direction, with some women so focused on their "place of birth" that they operate out of fear and resist medical interventions even when they are truly necessary.

 

I strive for balance and safe outcomes. I provide continuous risk assessment and consult or refer to a higher level of medical care when needed. I see myself as part of the medical system not separate from it.

 

While nothing is ever 100%, Birth is as safe as life gets. Studies continue to show that delivering out of the hospital with a trained midwife provides comparable outcomes to those in the hospital, with lower incidence of interventions and an intimate, satisfying experience of birth for the entire family.