Monday, August 11, 2008

Misinformation direct from Citizens for Midwifery

In this week's Time Magazine, there is an article on homebirth. Citizens for Midwifery,a homebirth advocacy group, is advising homebirth advocates to write Letters to the Editor about the article, complete with suggestions of what they should say. It makes an excellent compendium of the mistruths, deceptions and outright lies that are fundamental to homebirth advocacy.

Here are the "suggestions", complete with my comments:
SUGGESTED WRITING POINTS (Do not copy put into your own words!)

* For a variety of profound reasons, some women are always going to choose home birth, and we need care providers to be recognized by all 50 states so home birth can be better integrated into the healthcare system, and so that there will be enough providers to attend home birth. Simply put: home birth women need certified professional midwives. (If you can, briefly summarize your own difficulties in accessing home birth midwifery care.) No one "needs" grossly undereducated, grossly undertrained providers.

* There is a lot of literature showing home birth with midwives is very safe, and in some ways safer. Organized medicine is comparing apples to oranges in the 2 or 3 flawed studies they cite. Only poor, uncontrolled studies misrepresent planned home birth with a midwife in an unfairly bad light. (Pang study from Washington State included unplanned emergency births. Australian study involved women living in very rural Australia and included higher risk categories.) Property conducted studies all show home birth as safe as hospital (excluding women with medical problems) A lie: ALL the existing scientific evidence shows that homebirth increases the risk of neonatal death. There is not a single study that shows homebirth to be as safe as hospital birth for low risk women. The latest data from the CDC shows that PLANNED homebirth with a DEM is the most dangerous form of planned homebirth in the US.

* All the states (and Canadian provinces) that license certified professional midwives for home birth show good results. Laws licensing CPMs are renewed instead of repealed, and in some states the practice is actively encouraged. A lie: MANA is HIDING the state results for CPMs. The states that collect their own statistics, such as Wisconsin and Utah, show HIGHER neonatal death rates for homebirth. In addition, as mentioned above, the US statistics for 2003-2004 (the latest statistics) show that planned homebirth with a DEM has a neonatal death rate that is triple that of low risk hospital birth. Finally, Canadian provinces have much more stringent requirements for midwives than the CPM requirements.

* The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is in stark contrast to their Canadian and British counterparts (Royal College of OB/Gyns and Society of OB/GYNs of Canda). In Canada and Britian the OB groups embrace midwifes as the experts in normal, natural birth, including home birth. In Great Britian it's a woman's officially recognized civil RIGHT to have a home birth. A deliberate deception: American CPMs are grossly undereducated and grossly undertrained compared to European and Canadian midwives. Both countries require extensive hospital based training in the diagnosis and management of complications. American CPMs cannot meet the licensing requirements in Canada or the UK or ANY first world country.

* Complication statistics quoted by physicians are based on birth that has been chemically or mechanically manipulated by hospital and medical procedures. Those same complications have a lower risk at home with a midwife. Therefore, it's understandable that hospital OBs fail to understand home birth; doctors are used to riskier hospital birth, and then using their surgical skills to fix the problems they created in the first place. At home, the midwife herself is there through much of the labor, carefully monitoring to make sure things are proceeding normally. In addition to lower risk of complications to begin with at home, many things may be detected sooner with one-on-one care that does not exist in hospitals. (If you can personally or professionally speak to wonder how doctors would know how quickly problems arise in a birth, since they're not there in hospital births until the last x# of minutes. A lie: Neonatal death rates for low risk hospital birth are LOWER than homebirth death rates.
There you have it, straight from Citizens for Midwifery: 3 lies, 1 deliberate deception and a bonus bit of inanity.

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