Friday, September 01, 2006

Homebirth and gambling

Homebirth is like gambling. You are always playing the odds.

In a typical lottery game like Powerball, the odds of winning the Jackpot are very low, less than 1 in 146 million. Despite the low odds, millions play every week, and every few weeks, someone wins the jackpot.

In contrast, playing the odds in homebirth is a much better bet. The chance of a preventable neonatal death at homebirth appears to be approximately 1-2/1000, so the odds are high that everything will be fine. Nonetheless, you are still gambling since for every 1000 homebirths, 1 or 2 babies will die needless, preventable deaths. Indeed, the odds of your baby dying at a homebirth are about 10,000 times higher than your odds of winning the lottery.

So every homebirth is a gamble. The odds are good, but you are still gambling with a baby's life.

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