I’ve been thinking today about the following statement contained in the AMA’s Resolution on Home Deliveries:
“The safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, that meets standards jointly outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and ACOG, or in a freestanding birthing center that meets the standards of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, The Joint Commission, or the American Association of Birth Centers.”
Despite a large body of evidence attesting to the safety of home birth for low-risk women, the AMA continues to propagate lies about the danger of birth at home. Isn’t it amazing that the entire medical community will turn on a dime and stop supporting VBACs on the basis of one poorly designed study, yet turn a blind eye to the increasing number of studies supporting home birth as a safe option?
What is more, the illogic of the AMA amazes me. For a group of individuals who are supposed to be highly educated and skilled in critical thinking, they show a surprising lack of insight into their own argument that home birth is dangerous but delivery in an accredited freestanding birth center is safe!
As a midwife experienced in both home birth and birth center births, I can attest that this argument is absolutely ridiculous. During the time that I owned a birth center, I also maintained a home birth practice. Women could choose the birth location they were most comfortable with. A surprising number of women chose birth center birth because they dreamed of a home birth but felt “safer” in the birth center.
For some of my clients, I did feel the birth center was a safer location. I worked in an area where a number of my clients lived a long distance from the hospital–up to three hours away. If a woman did not have rapid access to a hospital, I would recommend the birth center because of its location only a block from the nearest hospital. Some women did not have a home setting they felt comfortable in–for example, a client who lived with her in-laws and wanted more privacy for birth. But in terms of safety, a birth center birth or a home birth with easy access to a hospital, are equivalent.
I had all of my emergency equipment and birthing supplies in portable bags which I used at either the birth center or at a home birth. I had the same trained support people helping at a birth, regardless of location. There simply is no difference in what happens in a birth center or a home birth. For any serious complication, both settings will require transfer to the hospital. There was nothing I could do for a woman in the birth center that I could not do for her in her own home.
The AMA demonstrates its own illogic by their assertion that birth in a freestanding accredited birth center is safer than a home birth. I would suspect that not one individual who drafted Resolution 205 has ever seen a birth center birth or a home birth. Once again, we have “experts” talking about things of which they have no firsthand knowledge.