Monday, August 23, 2010

IS HOMEBIRTH SAFE?

and,

IS THAT A VALID QUESTION?

I am not wanting to write at length about this very significant question today, but would like to direct readers to Amy Romano's comment and debate at the Lamaze blog.

In what appears to be a global race to discredit homebirth, people who should know better have shamelessly manipulated retrospective data from planned homebirth, and come up with conflicting and often confusing results that have been published in peer-reviewed literature.

Note in this context the critiques of the Australian Medical Association's publication of the Kennare et al (2010) Planned home and hospital births in South Australia, 1991-2006: differences in outcomes. The wild claims of increased risk of perinatal death or morbidity are just that: wild claims made on deeply flawed research.

Amy Romano writes:
The (in)famous Wax home birth meta-analysis hit the scene over a month ago. But the buzz doesn’t seem to be dying down. In the weeks since the original pre-publication and press release, editors at The Lancet and BMJ have both weighed in, and there’s a steady stream of media attention. While all of the media have dutifully quoted midwives in leadership positions saying the meta-analysis is flawed (an assessment with which I agree), I still keep coming back to the question I asked in my earlier post – did we need a meta-analysis to establish the neonatal outcomes of planned home birth? We had, after all, a very large, methodologically rigorous study on home birth safety involving over a half million women that was published less than 2 years ago. Won’t that suffice? ... (continued)

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