MAYD to Birth: At Your Doorstep

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Canadian Study

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A new Canadian study isn’t as large as the study just released from the Netherlands, but it backs up the point that home birth is a very safe choice.

The studied matched three populations; two giving birth under the care of midwives at home, one group birthing in the hospital with the same midwives providing the care and the third group being cared for by physicians in the hospital. I thought it was interesting that even though the women were cared for by the same midwives the infant mortality rates and outcomes were improved for the women giving birth at home. I think this is explained by the psychological benefits that come from laboring in our own safe, comfortable and familiar home environments. Psychological well-being during labor = a safer, smoother labor. It could also be that with the technology of the hospital in close proximity the midwives were choosing to use medical interventions more often than they did at home, and that affected the outcomes negatively.
Either way the outcomes for moms and babies at home were excellent, less hemorrhaging and tearing for moms, less trauma and need for rescucitation for babies (compared to their hospital counterparts.)
It is also interesting to note that both groups cared for by the midwives, whether at home or in the hospital, did better than the group of women cared for by physicians. The physician/hospital group had a higher mortality rate, higher risk of needing rescuscitation or oxygen therapy, and higher risk of trauma and meconium aspiration.

Public perception of home birth

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I thought this story from Ohio was a good reminder of why midwifery and home birth advocates need to speak out about their birth choices and educate the public about the safety of out-of-hospital births. This situation would never have happened in a country like the Netherlands where birthing at home is considered a normal way to give birth and police officers would never think that the couple was endangering their child by making that choice.


A family in the Dayton area is entangled in a criminal prosecution as a result of their homebirth. Nine weeks ago, the Levier family welcomed the second child to the world at home with the assistance of a midwife. He was born safe and sound. A few hours later, they were a bit concerned about mom so they made the decision to call 911 just to be safe.

In Montgomery County, whenever 911 is called and a child is involved, the police show up as well. The EMTs insisted that the newborn baby needed immediate medical attention (despite being perfectly happy and healthy) so mom and baby transported in the ambulance and baby was monitored for a while to confirm his good health. Meanwhile the police further investigated, taking statements from Dad and the midwife, who identified herself as a doula.

Six weeks later, the Levier family was given asummons to appear in court regarding charges of child endangerment. Both parents have been charged and arraigned. The next legal step is in late September. Their attorney hopes to have the charges dismissed, but in the meantime, they are facing the expenses of attorney’s fees for representing BOTH of them while dad’s work schedule has been drastically reduced for September.

Read the rest of the blog entry from the Ohio Familes for Safe Birth at their blog. This family needs help with their legal expenses…