Friday, June 27, 2008

AMA and ACOG are Anti-Home Birth

On the three month birthday of my home birthed baby, it's ironic that I finally find some time to post some of what is going on in the world of home birth and midwifery. So here's the gist: AMA and ACOG don't care for home birth. Well, duh! No big surprise there. It takes money directly out of their hands. Why WOULD they support home birth? What am I missing here? This seems like a no-brainer.

All of the recent media (i.e. Business of Being Born, etc.) on home birth is now beginning to uncover serious hospital birthing questions regarding safety, legalities, and especially financial and insurance concerns surrounding birth. Medpros know they don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to studies of birth safety between hospital and home. There's not nearly enough there to make a legitimate argument. So, to get what they want, why not draw up some unsubstantiated legal-speak to bring back their patients? Yep, you heard me. They're requesting legislation that declares that a hospital birth is always "safer." The intent? Why to initiate unwarranted fear, of course. A desperate move, at best. Studies conducted around the world currently refutes this declaration, but I suppose any good statistician can bend numbers, use partial data, and make an argument for either side. Utterly ridiculous. So while our country may currently be "pro-choice" for women in matters of abortion, this legislation would be a big step toward taking all choice away from women in regards to choosing where they give birth.

ACOG initiated their statement HERE.
AMA initiated their statement HERE.
Midwifery World reports HERE.
The Big Push responds HERE.
ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) responds HERE.
Jennifer Block (author of Pushed) responds HERE.
This list could go on and on and on...

Now, there's a silver lining to be seen here. Many are fighting back and asking tough questions. I have yet to see any answers. You'll find, below, a link to a letter written just this week by Stuart J. Fischbein, MD FACOG. He is a member of ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). And yet he and other members of ACOG who are known to be pro-home birth (and serve as back-up OBs for midwives who deliver at home) were surprised to see this statement issued. Those ACOG members who are strong advocates of natural home births and midwives were not contacted or made aware of this statement or the push for new legislation regarding safety. Though you would think their personal experience with home birth would give them some insight, they had no input. No vote. Why were we excluded? he asks. Thousands upon thousands of others in the birthing community are wondering the same thing. I'll keep you posted as I discover more--this post will be updated as I find more links.

You'll find the letter HERE. You DON'T want to miss this! Here are three interesting quotes:

"It is disturbing to me that I had to hear of this decision from outside sources and was never approached by my college to see how I or my local colleagues felt about it. I have grave concerns regarding my organization taking such a stand. I think we are all agreed that ACOG has a statement regarding patients’ rights to informed consent and informed refusal. Yet, it seems with every decision our organization moves further away from that basic tenet."

Probably my favorite:

"As to out of hospital birthing, please give me the courtesy of an explanation as to the evidenced-based data you used and the process by which an organization which is supposed to represent me came to this conclusion. Any statement saying that it is as simple as patient safety and that one-size fits all hospital births under the “obstetric model” of practice should be applied to all patients is, putting it nicely, not really in line with what best serves all our patients. In many instances, hospitals are not safe, certainly not nurturing and have a far worse track record for disasters than home birth. Even when emergency help is nearby this is true."

And he just keeps asking all the right questions:

Who first raised this issue and why? What committee reviewed all the data and did its due diligence in interviewing those of us with longstanding experience in backing midwives who perform out of hospital births. There must be a clear and concise, non-confidential paper trail you can share with your members. Specific names of committee members who voted for this would be enlightening and I am requesting this information. I would like to know the background and expertise regarding out of hospital birth for each member who had a hand in the decision to go to the AMA.

If you have any comments for ACOG, let them hear it!

Contact ACOG at:
ACOG Office of Communications

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