Would They Ban Homebirth?

I am slowly catching up with all the current news surrounding homebirth world wide and have been reading lots of blogs that mention the American Medical Association latest statement on homebirth. Rixa’s blog being one of the comprehensive reads on this.

RESOLVED, That our AMA develop model legislation in support of the concept that the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, that meets standards jointly outlined by the AAP and ACOG, or in a freestanding birthing center that meets the standards of the Accreditation Association foAmbulatory Health Care, The Joint Commission, or the American Association of Birth Centers.”(Directive to Take action)

I would see the above as a very concerning part of the statement which infers that they want legislation to back up their statement that everyone should birth at the hospital. They also Initially sited Ricki Lakes BOBB in the statement but following this response by Ricki in a paper, this has been taken out.

We wanted to make sure you are all aware of the news story that has exploded over the last 24 hours regarding the recent AMA resolution against homebirth and Ricki’s response to being named in it.

In February of this year, one month after the premiere of BOBB, the American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists(ACOG) reiterated its long-standing opposition to home births. In an obtuse reference to The Business of Being Born, ACOG stated, “Childbirth decisions should not be dictated or influenced by what’s fashionable, trendy, or the latest cause célèbre.” If that wasn’t enough, ACOG, this past weekend, introduced a resolution to the American Medical Association (AMA) at their annual meeting. The resolution commits the AMA to “develop model legislation in support of the concept that the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital…”. The reasoning for this resolution begins, “Whereas, There has been much attention in the media by celebrities having home deliveries, with recent Today Show headings such as “Ricki Lake takes on baby birthing industry: Actress and former talk show host shares her at-home delivery in new film…”.

Since when did Ricki become an evidence-based data point? that are they so afraid of? Just last week, Medical News Today reports that “about 8.2% of infants born in the US in 2005 had low birth weights, the highest percentage since 1968.” US infant mortality rates continue to rank us below 30 other countries, 22% of pregnancies are induced, and most worrisome of all, in the last 4 years, the maternal mortality rate has risen above 10 per 100,000 for the first time since 1977. To us, these seem like the troubling trends, not home birth.

Late yesterday, the AMA changed the final wording on resolution 205 to omit the mention of Ricki. (Hmmm…) The AMA says that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) drafted the initial statement so any issues should be taken up directly with them..

I also found this joint statement from NCT and the IMA (Independent midwives Association) from the UK . This urges ACOG to reconsider their position in planning to take away women’s right to birth at home.

I seems almost unbelievable that a country that holds liberty and freedom as an important part of their identity want the ultimate control over women’s birthing rights and a world apart from the RCM/RCOG joint statement on homebirth:

“There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at lowrisk of complications and it may confer considerable benefits for themand their families. There is ample evidence showing that labouring athome increases a woman’s likelihood of a birth that is both satisfyingand safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby.” (RoyalCollege of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists/Royal College of Midwives Joint statement No.2, April 2007).

As ever, it seems that the Australian’s have missed out on this and are blindly carrying on their uninformed blinkered way providing lots of second rate obstetric care in large tertiary centres. South Australia gallantly closing all small facilities to provide only cattle market care to the masses. Apart from a few small pockets of group midwifery care. Oh, and me and my friends of course.