Thursday, September 19th, 2013
A new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has found that women who give birth at home are 10 times more likely to have stillbirths; first-born children who are delivered at home are 14 times more likely to be stillborn. More from ABC News:
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In the largest study of its kind, investigators at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City reviewed data from a sampling of 13 million of the nearly 17 million singleton full-term births in the United States between 2004-2007. These included births to parents of all races, ethnic groups and income levels.
Among their findings: Babies born at home were nearly 10 times more likely to be stillborn, and the risk of stillbirth increased to 14 times for firstborns. Babies born at home were also almost four times more likely to experience neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction compared with babies born in hospitals.
The study’s results were confirmed by analyzing birth certificate files from the National Center for Health Statistics to evaluate deliveries by physicians and midwives in the hospital and at home from 2007 to 2010. The researchers looked at Apgars, scores that assess the health of an infant one minute and five minutes after birth. A five-minute Apgar score of zero is considered a stillbirth. About 10 percent of these babies survive, though often with major health problems.
“Childbirth is one of the most wonderful moments in humanity, and people deserve the best of all circumstances, including enhancing the experience and reducing unnecessary interventions,” said Dr. Amos Grunebaum, chief of labor and delivery at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and the study’s lead author. “Having said that, it’s not only about experience. It’s also about making sure the baby is born safely.”
Grunebaum said that the study associated risk with the location of a planned birth, rather than the credentials of the person delivering the baby. When a child is born at home, typically there is only the midwife or doctor to address any unpredictable circumstances that arise, but in the hospital, a team of specialists can be mobilized in seconds if needed, he said.
Monday, January 30th, 2012
A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics has found that more mothers are choosing to deliver their babies at home, CNN.com reports:
Between 1990 and 2004, the number of women who were choosing to give birth at home steadily declined. But in 2005 the trend turned, according to a new report released by the National Center for Health Statistics on Thursday.
The number of home births in the U.S. jumped by 29% from 2004 to 2009. Although home births are still rare – they account for less than 1% of all births – this is a pretty rapid increase, said Marian MacDorman, statistician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Forty, 50 years ago, there was this idea that hospital birth was more modern. Now it’s the opposite.”
The biggest increase was in non-Hispanic white women. About 1 in 90 births in that segment of the population is now a home birth, according to the report. Home births are most common among women over the age of 35 who have already had at least one child.
The data doesn’t tell us why home births have increased, MacDorman said, but she can take a few educated guesses. Cost may be an issue; on average, home births cost about one third less than hospital births. Another reason may be dissatisfaction with the care women in labor receive at a hospital. Doctors and nurses are busy, often caring for more than one patient at a time whereas at home, a woman can have a midwife attending only to her.
In July, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published similar findings, citing further statistics that found 12 percent of home births required medical transfer to a hospital.
Image: Pregnant woman in bed, via Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
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Citing concerns about high rates of Cesarean sections and other medical interventions, the impersonal nature of hospitals, and negative past experiences in hospitals, the number of women who are choosing to birth their babies at home rose twenty percent between 2004 and 2008, according to a report released in May by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2008, just over 28,000 home births took place at home, which still only accounts for less than one percent of total US births. But the rise in numbers over recent years is unmistakable.
The Associated Press reports:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which certifies OB-GYNs, warns that home births can be unsafe, especially if the mother has high-risk conditions, if a birth attendant is inadequately trained and if there’s no nearby hospital in case of emergency. Some doctors also question whether a “feminist machoism” is at play in wanting to give birth at home.
But home birthers say they want to be free of drugs, fetal monitors, IVs and pressure to hurry their labor at the behest of doctors and hospitals. They prefer to labor in tubs of water or on hands and knees, walk around their living rooms or take comfort in their own beds, surrounded by loved ones as they listen to music or hypnosis recordings with the support of midwives and doulas. Some even go without midwives and rely on husbands or other non-professionals for support.
The article goes on to say that in 1900, an estimated 95 percent of births took place at home. By 1935, that number had dropped to half of all births, and by 1955, less than one percent of mothers had home births.
A 2005 study found that 88 percent of home births in the US and Canada had positive outcomes, while 12 percent of women were transferred to hospitals–9 percent for preventative reasons, 3 percent for emergencies. That study also showed the infant mortality rate was 2 out of every 1,000 births, about the same as hospitals.
(image via: http://www.pinenutoil.org/)