Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Home birth and midwifes | Midwife legislation passes in close vote
A bill that requires training and certification of "direct entry" midwives passed the House Tuesday in a close vote, 41-30...The debate was at times emotional, technical and direct, with a number of House members saying the bill would actually make home deliveries of babies more dangerous rather than safer as advocates claim...Biskupski [D-Salt Lake, sponsor of the bill] said just the opposite is true: that by knowing the midwife is certified, and by signing a consent form before the birth, the mother will know the person helping her deliver her baby has been properly trained.

I'm seven and a half months pregnant with our second child, and Brad and I have discussed the motivations behind a home birth. (Please don't get me wrong, there is NO WAY in heaven that I want to deliever this baby anywhere but in the hospital, thank you very much.) But we are curious about it, as one of Brad's co-workers is training to be a midwife and is expecting to deliever her sixth child at home any day now. It's an interesting decision, and not one that I am going to condemn.
However, I do have some serious concerns and doubts about the process. We talked to one of my OBs (I was going to a clinic before we moved to Spanish Fork), and he gave us his opinion. He figured home birth is perfectly safe up to 90% of the time, especially if the mother has no risk factors leading up to the birth. But, unforeseen complications do arise in maybe 10% of births, which can put the mother or the baby or both at risk. Not always at risk of death, but of some kind of harm. The mother and baby must be rushed to the hospital in those cases, and precious minutes are lost in the transport. These same complications certainly can arise in the hospital, too, but there the mother is surrounded by trained medical staff and the correct monitors and equipment. Her chances (and that of the baby's) of recovering from the complication are much greater. In my doctor's opinion, a 10% chance is just too large, given there are other, safer alternatives available. I have to agree. Ezra's birth was relatively easy--no foreceps, no trouble, just a straight "catch", apparently; likely this next baby will be just as "easy" (ha, ha, ha). But I would prefer not to take chances.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Your OB was exagerating -- studies actually show that, even when you only count low risk mothers in the hospital group (as all home birth mothers are required to be low risk), complications are LESS LIKELY to happen at home than at the hospital. In addition, the vast majority of the complications that do occur at home can be taken care of at home, with no increased risk to mother or baby. Thus, statistically speaking and based on outcome, home births are just as safe or safer than hospital births. Of course, though, an OB doesn't want home births -- because it cuts into his business. I'm not saying he/she is evil or anything, but all people are motivated, at least a little bit, by their own self interest. Just something to think about.