Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rates of DEM assisted homebirth fail to rise

Homebirth advocates often charge that doctors are afraid of economic competition from direct entry midwives. That's clearly not the case. First, obstetricians are not worried about economic competition because there are more patients than there are obstetricians to care for them. Second, the proportion of births assisted by a DEM are miniscule and are not rising.

Final Birth Data for 2005 was published yesterday. It shows that there were 13,792 out of hospital births attended by DEMs in 2005, for a DEM attended birth rate of 0.3%. This is almost exactly the same rate as it has been every year since statistics on direct entry midwives were initially collected in 1989.

The proliferation of homebirth sites on the web makes it seem like the popularity of homebirth is increasing. In reality, it is a fringe movement, just as it has always been.

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