Saturday, September 16, 2006

What are the risks of interventions?

Many homebirth advocates are absolutely certain that interventions such as C-section, epidural and pitocin have significant risks, risks that outweigh the chance of the baby dying at a homebirth. They are correct in that any procedure has risks as well as benefits. They are wrong in what they imagine are the magnitude of the risks. Since everyone is constantly chiding me for failing to consider the risks, let's hear what they are. Let the rest of us know what specific risks exist and what the magnitude of the specific risk is. If you don't know how likely that risk is to occur, than you really don't know if it is a relevant consideration when considering the known risks of homebirth. I'll start us off with what is probably the most commonly occuring risk, the risk of spinal headache after epidural, which is approximately 1%. If you consider that more than a million women receive labor epidurals each year, that means that 10,000 women have spinal headaches.


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