04 October 2010

Homebirth Safety: Jennifer Block helps make sense of faulty study findings

Check out Jennifer Block's (awesome author of Pushed) new post, Home Births Under Fire Amid Outcry Over Wax Paper, in The Daily Beast

“Wax Paper” is what home birth supporters have taken to calling a metaanalysis that appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. A research method that has come under criticism in the past, a metaanalysis pools together data from several studies, and this one comes to a hotly contested conclusion: that babies are three times more likely to die if born at home, said the study, whose lead author is Joseph Wax, M.D....

...Several researchers and providers are lambasting the study as not only “deeply flawed” but “politically motivated,” the result of “intense medical lobbying.” (See: MOMS legislation introduced to the House last month.) Two independent experts who looked at the study for Time found it “weak and methodologically flawed.” The main criticism of the metaanalysis is its inclusion of old, discredited data that did not distinguish between planned, attended home births and accidentals on the kitchen floor or back seat, which have worse outcomes to be sure. And while the study was presented as being based on “hundreds of thousands of births,” its banner finding, that home birth is “associated with a tripling of the neonatal mortality rate,” is based on just 9,811 home births. And most of those deaths come from said poor data

There is a great recap of studies and ACOG's bias in saying that home birthers are being self-indulgent and unsafe - do check out the whole article. One birthing mom sums it up,
“Women are not merely participants in this process, we are the process. All women want to have healthy babies.”

(I don't know who took the image of the hearts...but it's made from wax paper...the kind of wax paper that's useful! ;-)

No comments: