The Crusade Against Home Birth


A recent study by Grunebaum et al examined the relationship between place of birth and adverse neonatal outcomes (Apgar of 0 at 5 minutes, and neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction—hereafter referred to as neonatal seizures) as reported in birth certificate data from 2007 to 2010 for term newborns (n  = 13,891,274) 1. Outcomes were analyzed by four practitioner types: hospital physician, hospital midwife, freestanding birth center midwife, and home birth midwife. The authors claim that babies born at home and in freestanding birth centers were at a significantly higher risk of having a 5‐minute Apgar score of 0 (RR = 10.55 and 3.56, respectively) and neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction (RR = 3.80 and 1.88). However, these findings must be interpreted with caution for several reasons.

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Cheyney, M. S. Vedam and P. Burcher (2014). The Crusade Against Home Birth. Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care. 41(1);1-4.(Peer-reviewed Invited Commentary)