Did you know that in 1940, 44% of births were home births? In 1969 (my birth year), the percent of home births was just 1% and has remained that low until recently. The trend of out-of-hospital birth (one that happens either at home or in a free-standing birthing center) has increased by 3% since 2004 (up until 2006-which is the latest data they have). In 2006, 61% of home births were delivered by midwives—16% by certified nurse midwives (CNMs), and 45% by other midwives.
The title says it all. Today, Medscape released a paper ‘Science and Sensibility’ outlining the recent studies related to the safety of home birth vs. hospital birth while discussing the barriers that home birth practitioners, and women who want home births are facing.
Recently, women are choosing or are interested in home births at a greater rate than in the past several decades. The paper discusses ‘planned home birth’, which refers “to the care of selected pregnant women by qualified practitioners within a system that provides for hospitalization when necessary.”
As I continue to read through the evidenced-based maternity report, I am more and more convinced that moving towards midwifery based care and free-standing birthing centers could be the answer to many of our country’s healthcare woes. Charges for childbirth vary considerably depending on the type and place of birth. “The average hospital charge in 2005 ranged from about $7,000 for an uncomplicated vaginal birth to about $16,000 for a complicated cesarean section, yet out-of-hospital birth centers were about one-quarter of the charges of uncomplicated vaginal birth in hospitals ($1,624 in 2003, when the national average charge for uncomplicated vaginal birth in hospitals was $6,239) three-quarters of the expense concentrated in the hospital stay.”
If you are pregnant or know anyone who is or has a baby in the last three years, please steer them in the direction of this site: The Birth Survey.
It was developed by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services. They “believe that women of childbearing age must have access to information that will help them choose maternity care providers and institutions that are most compatible with their own philosophies and needs. We hope that the Transparency in Maternity Care Project will provide information that will help women make fully informed maternity care decisions.”
I will pull some interesting figures:
-In 2007, there were more than 4.3 million births — the largest number ever registered — in the United States.
-Cesarean section was the most common operating room procedure in the country in 2007, with a cumulative increase from 1997-2007 of 85%.
-The rate of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) within childbirth-related hospitalizations was 9.7% in 2006, a decline of 73% from 1997, when the VBAC rate was 35.3%
-In 2006, combined facility charges billed for “mother’s pregnancy and delivery” and “newborn infants” ($86 billion) far exceeded charges for any other hospital condition in the United States.
The latest analysis of 2006 medical records states that nearly 1% of children born in the US have been diagnosed with autism. Because the instance of autism in boys is 4x greater than girls, one in seven boys will be diagnosed with the disorder.
Scientists don’t know if the increase is due to more diagnoses or if there truly is this significant of an increase.
Did you know?
There are currently 223 federal NuvaRing suits pending in the MDL, with another 90 cases filed in various state courts throughout the United States. All of the claims involve allegations that problems with NuvaRing caused women to suffer blood-clot related injuries, such as pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), stroke, heart attack or sudden death.
I decided to look and see the safety records of other hormonal birth control methods to compare. Many have been recalled and of the ones on the market, it seems that none are 100% safe and many (if not all) have at least one death associated with its use.
As a women who used to get chronic urinary tract infections, the news from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) was a bit alarming. Apparently, they recently conducted a study which links certain antibiotics to birth defects. The two antibiotics, nitrofurantoins and sulfonamides (typically called ‘sulfa’ drugs) have been found to increase risk of anencephaly, (a fatal malformation of the skull and brain), congenital heart defects, and various other soft-tissue defects.
The Bulletin of the World Health Organization published a white paper on Oct. 4th 2009, addressing the concerns of the increase in preterm births worldwide. According to the paper, over ONE MILLION babies die each year from causes related to preterm birth.
Preterm birth is defined as a baby born before 37 weeks gestation. In the United States alone, the cost of caring for preterm babies and their associated health problems tops $26 billion annually. Second only to Africa, North America (US and Canada) has the highest instance of preterm births in the world!
Even though the ‘special investigation’ concluded what many studies have shown….that home birth or birth with a midwife is as safe, or safer than hospital birth, the slant of the story was hideously skewed and the main interviewees were a grieving family who lost their daughter to cord compression after a particularly arduous labor. My favorite line of the whole ‘report’: “Homebirth had become almost the equivalent of a spa treatment for women, that it was this sort of hedonistic concept of birthing.”