(NaturalHealth365) On June 13, the British Medical Journal published a nationwide cohort study from the Netherlands reinforcing that healthy, happy babies are delivered at home. For years, the medical community and big pharma have succeeded in convincing mothers that low risk women who plan on giving birth at home have a higher rate of severe acute maternal morbidity than women with planned hospital birth. They have been particularly adept at scaring first time mothers.
Medical lies proven false
To test these erroneous hypotheses, researchers from the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam evaluated over 145,000 Dutch pregnancies from 2004 to 2006. Of the 92,333 (62.9 percent) women who had planned home birth and the 54,419 (37.1 percent) who had planned hospital birth the results of the study showed that home birth was safer for women regardless of whether they were first time mothers or not.
For first time mothers, the rate comparing home birth to hospital birth was as follows:
• Postpartum hemorrhage 43.1 versus 43.2
• Manual removal of placental 29.0 versus 29.8
For multiparous mother, the rate comparing home birth to hospital birth was as follows:
• Severe acute maternal morbidity 1.0 versus 2.3
• Postpartum hemorrhage 19.6 versus 37.6
• Manual removal of placenta 8.5 versus 19.6
As the numbers show, multiparous women received a significantly greater benefit from home birth than those first time mothers; however, the benefit to nulliparous mothers cannot be underestimated.
Thus, researchers were safely able to conclude:
Low risk women in primary care at the onset of labor with planned home birth had lower rates of severe acute maternal morbidity, postpartum hemorrhage, and manual removal of placenta than those with planned hospital birth. For parous women these differences were statistically significant. Absolute risks were small in both groups. There was no evidence that planned home birth among low risk women leads to an increased risk of severe adverse maternal outcomes in a maternity care system with well-trained midwives and a good referral and transportation system.
The response from the experts
The latest statistics show that only 0.72 percent of United States births are delivered at home. Moreover, not as low, but still shocking, only 2.5 percent of UK mothers deliver their babies at home. One would think that this is the trend for all industrial nations, but the Dutch have set the standard in the other direction. In the Netherlands, for instance, more than 20 percent of women give birth at home!
Ank de Jonge, a practicing midwife and senior researcher on the study, emphasized that Dutch home birth success depends on a number of different factors. “This comes from a good risk selection system, good transport in place and well-trained midwives.”
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the UK’s Royal College of Midwives, said the research was proof of the safety and benefits of home birth and was delighted that it showed that homebirth could save the NHS money.
This research should be encouraging providers and commissioners of maternity services to put more resources into providing women with a real choice of having a home birth, because at present we know many women who would want one often cannot have one because of a lack of midwives. Providing choice of place of birth is at the heart of the government’s agenda so it was disappointing that last year saw a drop in home births.
Getting back to our roots
Home birth remains a hot debate between midwives and obstetricians – globally. The medicalization of our society has all but bastardized this process as is apparent in the 99 percent hospital birth rate in the U.S. Going back to our roots will behoove mothers with the empowering, life-giving experience of crossing that rite of passage their foremothers experiences in the past.
To continue the age-old bond of delivering babies at home in a comfortable setting with a trusted support system is the formula for a safe, happy birth. Tested by time and confirmed by scientific research, it would behoove American women to consider this option and meet with a local experienced midwife about their birthing options.
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