It is distressing to see that some obstetricians and public officials refuse to acknowledge the medical literature on the topic of home birth. Planned home birth with a skilled midwife in attendance has been shown many times to be a safe and reasonable option for low-risk women. (See, for example, the study published in the British Medical Journal, June 18, 2005: “Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America”).
National certification is currently available to midwives, as is licensure in many states. With the high rates of unnecessary Caesarean sections in most hospitals across the country — and the well-documented problems associated with surgical deliveries — it is more important than ever to preserve safe choices in childbearing that have the potential to reduce unnecessary interventions and their attendant risks.
Both home births and hospital births carry specific risks, and women who seek to reduce the likelihood of unnecessary medical interventions should be able to choose the home birth (or free-standing birth center) option.
As our obstetrician consultants for our forthcoming book on pregnancy and birth would agree, it is simply a myth that having a baby in the hospital will guarantee a better outcome for mother and/or baby.
Executive director, Our Bodies Ourselves