Sunday, June 22, 2008

Keep homebirth safe and legal for all Americans!

The AMA has recently adopted a resolution which seeks legislation to ban homebirth. Please sign this petition, even if you are not a homebirther yourself. All Americans should have access to quality health care options. Homebirth has been shown to be as safe as hospital birth, resulting in fewer complications, cesareans, episiotomies, and other interventions than comparative hospital births. I am proof that the midwifery model of care works-- one successful homebirth, and one transfer to the hospital when the midwife's training and instincts were telling her we needed to go, due to complications that presented themselves. That is how things should work-- midwives for uncomplicated labors, and obstetricians for more complicated cases. These two professions should work together, not against each other.

The AMA adopted this resolution in part because of a recent documentary critical of the way hospital births are currently conducted-- "The Business of Being Born," by Ricki Lake. They are afraid homebirth is becoming trendy and people will do it now just because of her documentary. They actually specifically named her in a draft of the resolution, though they (wisely) left it out of the final document.

The AMA's efforts would be better spent focusing on a new, larger problem of low birthweight babies. We have had the highest rate of low birthweight babies in 40 years, which is probably the result of convenience cesareans and inductions, which have risen sharply in the last decade or so. Christina Aguilera had a convenience cesarean at 37 weeks-- why doesn't the AMA adopt a resolution specifically targeting her? That is a much more dangerous birth choice.

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