The National Center for Health Statistics published Births: Final Data for 2012 last week and homebirth advocates are crowing about the increased rate of homebirths.
From the report:
“Out of hospital deliveries represented 1.4% of births in 2012. Of the more than 50,000 out of hospital births, about two-thirds (65.6%) occurred in a residence (home), and 29.0% occurred in a freestanding birthing center. The number of births occurring at home, 35,184, was the highest since reporting began for this item in 1989.
Jennifer Margulis boasted that Oregon led the nation with the highest percentage of homebirths at 2.4%.
I can’t decide whether these women are clueless or callous or both. There is no cause for smiley faces or pride when an increase in homebirth means an increase in homebirth deaths.
In the last few years, there has been an endless stream of data and scientific papers attesting to the fact that homebirth dramatically increases the risk of newborn death (3-10 fold) and brain damage (18 fold). Nowhere is the scale of the disaster more apparent than in Oregon in 2012 where 5/1000 homebirths ended with babies who died preventable deaths to achieve the nation’s highest percentage of homebirths.
If Oregon is indicative of the toll of homebirth it means that in 2012, approximately 175 babies lost their lives because their mothers were more concerned with where they gave birth than whether their babies lived or died. That doesn’t even count the babies who sustained permanent brain damage or other injuries as a result of their mothers’ decision to give birth far from the medical personnel and equipment that would have saved them.
Let me repeat that: 175 babies DIED and possibly hundreds more were permanent impaired in 2012 alone for no better reason than because their mothers put their desire for a specific birth “experience” ahead of the wellbeing of their babies.
Rather than boasting, Ricki Lake and Jennifer Margulis should be crying tears of shame.