Earlier this month, actress Thandie Newton announced that she gave birth to her third child at home. She is among the growingnumber of women opting for home births in the United States in the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
A recent study presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual meeting on February 7 stated that patients delivered at home by midwives had a roughly four times higher risk of neonatal deaths than babies delivered in the hospital by midwives. The increased neonatal mortality risk is associated with the location of a planned birth, rather than the credentials of the person delivering the baby, the report noted.
Using CDC data of 14 million linked infant birth and neonatal death, researchers at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center found the absolute risk of neonatal mortality was 3.2/10,000 births in midwife hospital births, and 12.6/10,000 births in midwife home births, and it further increased in first-time mothers to 21.9/10,000 births in midwife home deliveries. Neonatal mortality was defined as neonatal deaths up to 28 days after delivery.
“This risk further increased to about seven-fold if this was the mother’s first pregnancy, and to about ten-fold in pregnancies beyond 41 weeks,” said Amos Grunebaum, M.D.
Grunebaum and co-author Frank Chervenak, M.D. said that obstetric practitioners have an ethical obligation to disclose the increased absolute and relative risks associated with planned home birth to expectant parents who express an interest in this delivery setting, and to recommend strongly against it.
They suggest that hospitals make their policies more welcoming to mid-wives and create more comfortable birthing environments, to eliminate the need for “unnecessary obstetric interventions”, a release about the study stated.
Interesting. What are your thoughts on this study and the authors suggestion which seemingly implies hospitals should do more to obviate the need for midwives who will assist in a home birth?