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SA Homebirth Report

Although it is not anticipated that large numbers of women will opt for homebirth, women’s autonomy in choosing reproductive behaviour is a fundamental human right enshrined in Australian law (SA homebirth policy).

There is a new report just to be published that has looked at homebirths in SA from 1991 to 2006.

I fail to understand how these people continue to get away with the slander that is the synopsis.

We know that Journalists will not read the actual report only the brief outline and result. The AMA have manipulated the synopsis using this fact to create WOW factor.

They say that you are 7 times more likely to have a death from interpartum asphyxia, Why would they put out such a lie when the actual work says that the perinatal mortality has no difference between hospital and home, 7.9 per thousand at home ant 8.2 per thousand at the hospital. It seems to me that the authors of this piece should be seriously called into question.

Lets break down the findings.

From the 9 deaths they used to make up the mortality figures for homebirth only 2 of them were actually born at home between the dates that were looked at.

1 baby had a congenital abnormality. (this should be taken out of adjusted figures as they often are in hospital stats. Even more often they are terminated prior to 24 weeks). The other baby was born at home in water. Even though the findings concluded that water had nothing to do with it the authors of the study took it completely into their own hands and gave an opinion that the outcome may have been changed with closer monitoring. On further investigation of this case it appears that the baby may have died before labour actually started.

The other babies were planned for homebirth but were born at the hospital. :-

  • an induction of labour where the baby had a lethal anomaly
  • a antepartum death (death in utero with prior to labour)
  • a baby with hydrops fetalis
  • a baby with abnormal karotype
  • a preterm birth with pulmonary hypoplasia
  • There was also a complication at a twin birth
  • and a post term spontaneous labour.

So to recap as the study continually says 9 babies died at a homebirth making a 7.9 per 1000 death rate. (better than the hospital rate of 8.2) HOWEVER only 2 babies were actually born at home, making the perinatal mortality rate 2.5 per 1000. (the baby with an abnormality and an interuterine death which wasn’t recognised until after the waterbirth)

This takes into consideration all risk, no testing and lots of choice. It also doesn’t break down hospital birth at all. How can it be a comparision when they only broke down the homebirths and not the hospital births?
I think this study shows that homebirth is by far the safest choice.

Interestingly, the authors also looked very crudely at post partum hemorrhage. Once they took out all the reasons for bleeding at the hospital like severe tears, instrumental births, episiotomy they found that homebirth and hospital birth rates were similar. From the they make the assumption it is because oxytocics are being used at home. This goes to show that they really don’t know the subject they are supposed to be researching. Midwives don’t use an oxytocic at home unless there is an emergency.

Last but not least they looked at apgar score. The synopsis says that lower apgar was present more often at homebirth but the body of the work says the opposite. There was no significant difference between home and hospital agpar but the babies born at home were half as likely to need any other help.

The lies are for effect and front page news. Lets hope everyone reads the body of the work and understands the outright falsehood of the statements over the facts.

The Authors of this work are a group of people who make up the mortality review committee in South Australia Robin Kennare, Mark Keirse , Graham Tucker, and Annibelle Chan.

Mark Keirse was involved with the much discredited Bastien study, he was living with Hilda Bastien at the time of that study. He was also involved in the SA homebirth policy (It’s almost unbelievable to think that he would be pro women on this subject)

It seems to me to be impossible to even try and fight the machine that is the AMA.

13 responses to “SA Homebirth Report”

  1. Rachele

    Great post Lisa! It is a shame that the journalists won't pick up the real story here, and that is that the slander and bias against homebirth continues in spite of the evidence supporting it. After months of hearing the ridiculous Andrew Pesce talk about this article, I laughed out loud when I read it. How sad that these people continue to get away with this crap.

  2. Rose

    Bleh, vomit, bullshit…..

    They write what people want to hear- NOT the truth…….

  3. Nat

    Thank you for speaking out.

  4. Making of a Montessori Mum

    Bloomin heck! Fracken unbelievable.How do they get away with this crap? Thanks for offering a proper analysis of the data so can counter comments in any future converations may have. Your a winner!

  5. Marie Gentile-Andrit

    Hey Lisa, thank you for the summary. I agree, it just doesn't make sense on many levels. I read the article and almost threw up! I couldnt help but notice the lovely man's email address on the bottom of the article and just had to send him a summary of my own! Thanks again Lisa! :)

  6. jodicleghorn

    Thank you Lisa.

    Hopefully with the links which have been forged between some good journalists and hombirthing women and organisations – the real stories will come out.

    1. That the authors were willing to lie and misrespent the finding contained in the body of the report.

    and
    2. What the real story is with the statistics.

    Thank you again for your breakdown of the study.

  7. Lisa Barrett

    Thanks Amy I'd love one

  8. drbretthill

    Grrr, just blogged and emailed you about this same article Lisa but I see you are already onto it. Of course!

    Makes me so angry that an article showing home births caused less deaths can be used as an argument to stop home birthing!

  9. Kat Williams

    Thank you so much for the great review of the study. The bias is ridiculous and if we took the political/financial pull out of the AMA, imagine what could happen. One day, maybe women will be put first on the list of people to please and suddenly the cesarean rates will drop, women's overall health and esteem will increase, babies will be peaceful and loving… oh and the world will be a better place. Sorry, I will wake up from my dream now.

  10. Anonymous

    Why whinge and moan about the article? If it is so wrong sue the publisher / writer. Surely this needs to be done to protect the integrity of your profession.

  11. Lisa Barrett

    a critical review isn't whinging. I would think that the integrity of our profession is pretty safe with this report. It is the force of the largest lobby group in the country which creates the problem.

  12. Anonymous

    Hi Lisa, you don't seem to accept other people's views, you just seem to use them as another way to reinforce your point. I've read a few things today that have raised concern for me regarding your objectivity including one by jessandgarry. It seems they have had some genuine trouble in their life surrounding home birth. Be understanding of your readers, don't just put them down and turn it into a way to back your own point because in the end it will just make them more against home birth. Maybe back off a bit. If I were in their position I wouldn't choose a homebirth either. It's not for everyone.

  13. Lisa Barrett

    Dear Anonymous, Of course I use the nasty comments of others to illistrate a point. The lovely thing about this blog is that it is mine, filled with research, evidence based practice – which didn't come from jessandgary – and of course my opinion. Homebirth isn't for everyone but this blog is about homebirth, for homebirth, and full of good information. I'm surprised that people who are very anti homebirth even bother to read this blog, I wouldn't tone down my information for them as I don't agree with their point of view, I have plenty of evidence to back up mine.