Friday, May 30, 2008

New national statistics: homebirth increases neonatal death

I have been waiting for these statistics.

In 2003 the US standard birth certificate form was revised to include place of birth and attendant at birth. In both the 2003 and 2004 Linked Birth Infant Death Statistics, mention was made of this data, but it was not included in the reports. Now the CDC has made the entire dataset available for review and the statistics for homebirth are quite remarkable. Homebirth increases the risk of neonatal death to double or triple the neonatal death rate at hospital birth.

As this chart shows, the neonatal mortality rate for DEM assisted homebirth is almost double the neonatal mortality rate for hospital birth with an MD. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that the hospital group contains women of all risk levels, with all possible pregnancy complications, and all pre-existing medical conditions. An even better comparison would be with the neonatal mortality rates for CNM assisted hospital birth. The risk profile of CNM hospital patients is slightly higher than that of DEM patients, but CNMs do not care for high risk patients. Compared to CNM assisted hospital birth, DEM assisted homebirth has TRIPLE the neonatal mortality rate.

No wonder MANA is suppressing their safety statistics. They almost certainly show that homebirth with a DEM has triple the neonatal mortality rate of hospital birth for comparable risk women in the same year.

What is also notable is that the results are consistent with all existing scientific studies, including the Johnson and Daviss study. Johnson and Daviss actually showed that homebirth with a CPM has a neonatal mortality rate almost triple that of hospital birth for low risk women. The latest statistics are the most recent and most reliable confirmation of that fact.

There really is no question about it now. Homebirth with a DEM dramatically increases the risk of neonatal death.


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