How many babies died at the hands of Colorado homebirth midwives this year?

It’s that time of year again, late October, when Colorado homebirth midwives release their death statistics as mandated by Colorado law. Before I disclose this year’s death rate, let’s review to put it in perspective.

Two years ago, I wrote about the horrifying death toll of homebirth in Colorado:

… [T]he perinatal death rate of LICENSED homebirth midwives in Colorado, caring for low risk patients, exceeded the perinatal death rate of 6.4/1000 for the entire state (all races, all gestational ages, all birth weights, 2003-2007)! Homebirth was the most dangerous form of planned birth by far.

Karen Robinson, CPM [President of the Colorado Midwives Association] was in denial:

I don’t believe we have a poor perinatal mortality rate, but if solid data shows we do, then I will be at the forefront of the effort to improve our practices and lower the perinatal mortality rate for homebirth in Colorado.

But as I pointed out in my post:

But the death rates for for the year were even even worse. Last year’s results revealed that, licensed Colorado midwives had a perinatal mortality rate at homebirth of 8.6/1000. These numbers are nothing short of horrifying.

Amazingly, last year’s statistics were far worse. Colorado licensed midwives provided care for 799 women. Nine (9) babies died for a homebirth death rate of 11.3/1000! That is nearly DOUBLE the perinatal death rate of 6.3/1000 for the entire state (including all pregnancy complications and premature births).

The data is conveniently broken down by type of death and place of death. For example, there were three intrapartum deaths for an intrapartum death rate of 3.8/1000, more than TEN TIMES HIGHER than the intrapartum death rate commonly experienced in hospitals. There were 4 neonatal deaths for a neonatal death rate of 5/1000. That’s TEN TIMES HIGHER than the national neonatal mortality rate for low risk hospital birth with a CNM. On hundred women were transferred in labor or after delivery for a transfer rate of 12.5%. The neonatal death rate in the transfer group was 50/1000, an appalling neonatal death rate ONE HUNDRED TIMES HIGHER than that expected in a group of low risk women.

What did we learn from these data?

1. Planned homebirth with a licensed midwife in Colorado has a death rate that is extraordinarily high and has risen in every year since statistics were first collected.

2. Colorado homebirth midwives have an intrapartum death rate 10 times higher than expected.

3. Colorado homebirth midwives have a neonatal mortality rate 10 times higher than expected.

4. Colorado homebirth midwives fail to transfer enough patients and fail to transfer them in a timely fashion.

5. One in 20 patients transferred to the hospital by Colorado homebirth midwives ends up with a dead baby.

How many babies died at the hands of Colorado homebirth midwives this year?

Drum roll please …

The death toll of planned homebirths attended by licensed Colorado hoomebirth midwives in the last reported year is so high that the midwives, in violation of Colorado law, refuse to relase them!

Let me repeat that. After 4 years of high, rising, and nothing short of appalling death rates, Colorado homebirth midwives are now refusing to report how many babies are dying at their hands. They published an annual report. as they always do, but they left out the homebirth deaths.

They already had an intrapartum death rate 10 times higher than expected and a neonatal mortality rate 10 times higher than expected. How much higher are they now?

If this tactic sounds familiar, it should. It has happened on the state level; homebirth midwives in Oregon, led by Melissa Cheyney are hiding their death rates. And it is happenening on the national level. The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) collected death rates for the years 2001-2008. While they were collecting the statistics, they publicly promised they would be used to demonstrate the safety of homebirth midwives, but once they saw the results, they decided to hide them instead.

How many babies need to die before homebirth advocates acknowledge the obvious: homebirth kills babies, homebirth midwivess (certified professional midwives) are grossly undereducated and grossly undertrained, and homebirth midwives are represented by unethical leadership who are willing to let babies die preventable deaths and then hide the bodies?

Homebirth in the US is not about babies, and it is not about birth. It is about a bunch of high school graduates who couldn’t or wouldn’t get real midwifery training and made up a pretend credential they award to themselves to fool an unsuspecting public.

American professional homebirth advocates are unethical in the worst possible way; they don’t care how many newborn lives are sacrificed, indeed that will go to great lengths to hide how many newborn lives they sacrifice, in an effort to continue collecting fees for appallingly incompetent care. The entire leadership of American homebirth, from the President of MANA on down should be ashamed of themselves.

How do American homebirth midwives handle their mistakes? They bury them — both literally and figuratively.