by aradhna amrit vani momma

Telling tales about home birth. A new study revives old fears.

By L. Samsarah Morgan

One September 16, a press release was issued to draw attention to a not yet released researched study from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This study claims that babies born at home are roughly 10 times more likely to be still born and 4 times more likely to have neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction when compared to babies born in hospitals.

This is a very alarming claim – and of course it’s vital that people, when they hear such data review and consider it very carefully – not with knee jerk fear, but with reason and common sense.

Firstly we have to take a look at the history of birth in this country. When we do this we see a very bleak tale of the obstetric communities’ desire to eliminate home birth midwifery. Unlike other developed countries – Doctors in the United States hold the belief that they and only they are the ones who ought to be delivering babies. They (as a group, I note that there are exceptions) believe that home birth is dangerous. That birth itself is dangerous and must be closely monitored by medical staff – medicated, and at best attending to with surgery.

As I started to say earlier, this is fear of birth of unique to US Doctors, in other industrialized countries Doctors and Midwives are collogues, not adversaries, and often women never see an OB during their pregnancy. OBs take care of legitimately sick mommas, moms who do require surgery or medication to ensure a safe outcome – that being a live momma and child.

In these countries, there is no such thing as homebirth midwife or a nurse midwife – one is just a midwife. A midwife delivers babies where the healthy mother chooses – home or hospital. If the doctor is needed, they are nearby and easily called upon – if a midwife has determined that her client needs a doctor, she doesn’t lose the love and care of her midwife – the doctor and midwife confer and work together to develop a plan of treatment for the momma, and of course a mom experiencing a high risk situation will birth in the hospital. It’s a smooth, seamless, and respectful process which results in beautiful outcomes; strong, healthy, babies, and mommas. Google Infant and maternal mortality rates by country. Google Amnesty international findings regarding World wide infant and mortality. These studies show very clearly that the American Way of Birth doesn’t serve US women and their babies. Our morality rates are a disgrace! We are number 40 on the list of counties that lose the most mother and babies in childbirth! THIS SHOULD NOT BE!

The vast majority of US children are not born at home – they are delivered in the hospital. Although more and more moms are letting go of their fears and choosing home birth – the vast majority of the babies (over 90 per cent) who die in childbirth are simply NOT home birthed babies. Do the math!

Also in this new study, the data used to come to these conclusions was taken from birth certificates and this has been shown many times to be a very inaccurate measure of home birth outcomes. Why? Because just because a little angel was born at home – that doesn’t mean that the birth was a PLANNED HOME BIRTH. There is a huge difference between a planned home birth supervised by a trained midwife, than the mere fact that a baby was born at home, perhaps due to the fact that there was some sort of problem – or the baby came before the family could mobilize to get to the hospital.

There is study after study showing the safety of home birth many of these studies showing that home birth is as safe, if not safer for low risk (ie healthy) women than birthing in a highly technological setting of a hospital. Of course these studies are done by groups who do not have an axe to grind or centuries old battle against midwifery….like the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology…

Countries that have Universal Health Care have amazing and strong infant and maternal mortality rates, and data collected from these counties show that low risk mommas and their babes fare very well when doctors and midwives collaborate rather than compete.

Groups like Amnesty International and the March of Dimes, have no vested interest in skewing numbers- these groups are dedicated to the safety and well being of humanity. They make no money in the data they share – their job is to, illuminate, educate and attempt to save lives.

The adversarial nature in our country is also fueled due the recent upsurge of home birth in recent years. This due to amazing documentaries like “The Business of Being Born” ,which have open the eyes of families to a new vision of birth – the joy, empowerment and safety of the home birth option. As more and more families follow this vision, there is a loss of revenue to OBs and hospitals – hence the need to attempt to scare and control the public. Again, this is not about the safety of women and children, it is about Medical Corporations’ desire to secure and enrich their bottom line…

Please know that I draw a huge distinction between the average OB, and the OB/GYN corporate machine and BIG PHARMA. The average OB, I believe is a good person who wishes to honor his or her Hippocratic oath. This oath demands that they “do no harm”. But what are such doctors to do when prestigious medical researchers release studies such as this, and how many doctors read every word of a study and analyze it? Not many… Most doctors will simple read the title of this study.


Terrifying, isn’t it?

Don’t be scared my darlings, read the studies fully – follow the money – and use your own intuition and common sense and you will fare well.

I have included for your review an announcement of this study and links to the actual study itself. I am also sharing with you a response article written by a member of the Midwifes Alliance of North America, which gives even more information as to what makes more a reliable study of home birth and its safety. This article gives links to other and more more sturdy research and information.

It is up to us to inform ourselves and tell the truth to other women. It’s up to us to walk without fear as we make important decisions regarding our own lives and that of our children.

And on that score I agree that the matter of birth in the US is startling and concerning – but the environment that requires scrutiny isn’t home birth… Let’s turn our attending to the where the majority of babies are being born and seem to be at risk.. And let’s begin to seriously ask, why?


Article re: the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology study

And rebuttals:

Aboout the author:

Dr. L. Samsarah Morgan, DD. Dr. Morgan is an Interfaith Minister and Counselor, Apprentice Midwife, Family Life Coach, Doula and Hypnotherapist. She is the founder of Nia Center for birth and family life. She is a birth and postpartum caregiver and childbirth and parenting educator, and is this year celebrating 29 years as a birth worker and trainer.As the mother of 5 grown sons and the grandmother of two, and so, she has firsthand experience of the joys and challenges of parenting! She is the director of Nia: A family life practice, as well as Birth Professionals of the Bay Area and her private practice has offered counseling and healing sessions as well as workshops, seminars and retreats for individuals, couples, and families since 1991.She is an apprentice of Midwife Selena Green, CPM of the Sacred Birth Place Center for childbirth and wellness in Oakland, Ca. She is a contributing writer for several on line magazines, including Weigh loss solutions 360 magazine, Every Little Thing, Birth babies and Beyond , and The Occupy Oakland Media Collective.She is member of the board for the Sacred Birth Angels Foundation, as well as the Founder and CEO of The Oakland Better Birth Foundation, and The Decolonize (Occupy) Pregnancy Birth and Parenting Caucus of Occupy Oakland.She is also on the board of KPFA , community radio.


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