The right of women to choose whether they have home births is being questioned by the Lancet who claims that mothers-to-be should not be able to opt for them if they put their babies at risk.
The million dollar question is, who decides if the baby is at risk? Between invasive vaccinations, vitamin K injections, antibiotic eye swabs, unnecessary C-sections, needless epidurals and excessive ultrasounds, the medical community has show repeatedly that their careless approach to mothers-to-be and their baby's health are wreckless at best. So why should the medical community override a mother's innate instinct for the health and welfare of their unborn child?
In Canada, the UK and some U.S. states laws permit women to override medical advice. Home births are no more riskier than hospital deliveries and the statistics and studies cleary demonstrate this fact.
A study completed on nearly 3,000 B.C. births over five years published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, showed that planned home births attended by midwives are just as safe -- both for babies and moms -- as hospital births.
The study included 2,889 planned home births attended by midwives from 2000 to 2005. The outcomes in those births were compared to 4,752 planned hospital births by the same group of midwives and a third group of 5,331 physician-attended planned hospital births, all of which were low-risk cases. Among all three groups, the newborn death rate (less than one per cent) was similar.
Research from the Netherlands - which has a high rate of home births - found no difference in death rates of either mothers or babies in 530,000 births.
Typically only low-risk pregnant women are eligible for home births with midwives, so the argument that the Lancet presents regarding research which suggests that home births are more risky than hospital delivery is redundant.
The Lancet refers to a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology which reviewed 500,000 births across the world and found the death rate for home births at 0.2% was twice as high as in hospitals.
The Lancet obviously chose to selectively extract the conclusions from the study that benefited the objectives for their publication. Did they analyze exactly what conditions those deaths took place in? What training did the midwives have in other countries where the deaths took place? What environment and circumstances around the world caused the death rate to increase fromn from 0.1% to 0.2%? Why did they not include additional portions from AJOG's maternal and newborn outcomes in planned home birth vs planned hospital births: a metaanalysis in their analysis which demonstrated that "planned home births were associated with fewer maternal interventions including epidural analgesia, electronic fetal heart rate monitoring, episiotomy, and operative delivery. These women were less likely to experience lacerations, hemorrhage, and infections. Neonatal outcomes of planned home births revealed less frequent prematurity, low birthweight, and assisted newborn ventilation."
Women should still have the right to insist on giving birth where they want to as court cases have established the baby only gets equal rights to the mother after birth.
Pat O'Brien, of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists, said: "It is very rare for women to choose to put their babies at risk, if anything it is the opposite and they will often put themselves at risk for their baby.
"But we would always support women in whatever they decide."
Regarding the Lancet recommendation, Mary Newburn, of the National Childbirth Trust, said: "Comments like these are concerning to read. All adults with the mental capacity to make decisions have the right to decide which treatment options they accept or decline.
"Pregnant women have the same rights as other adults."
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.