Last week, I discovered ACOG's disturbing survey, "Complications Related to Home Birth". Apparently, ACOG is concerned that the rising rate of elective home births will somehow lead to an increased rate of maternal and fetal complications. The list of complications that they provide for selection on the survey range from multiple gestation to shoulder dystocia to postpartum hemorrhage. My question was this: What does home birth have to do with these complications? Common sense tells me that the location of a birth does not dictate whether or not a complication arises. More relevant would be the awareness, knowledge, and preparedness of the birth attendant(s), perhaps. But even with the most skilled and perceptive attendant, hairy complications can happen, right? What ACOG seems to be suggesting, however, is that hospital births are free from complications until midwives or "untrained" birth attendants bring their so-called "train wrecks" from home to be rescued by doctors and hospital staff. It is precisely this type of thinking, perpetuated by many in the medical community, that leads people to expect perfect results every single time from doctors. And when perfect results are not achieved, lawsuits arise because folks need to blame someone. Who better to blame than the person or persons who assured you that if you followed all their often uncomfortable and counter-intuitive rules you'd have a perfect outcome? Anyway, that's my two cents.
I also found a great response to ACOG's survey. It's created by a doula, Tabare Depaep, J.D., and re-posted on the EnjoyBirth blog. Very cleverly written. Here's the link:
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