One midwife’s take on home birth in America

There was a recent editorial in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing written by a CNM about home birth. It was brought to my attention by Rebirth Nurse, and I wanted to share it with my readers, in case any of you don’t also read her blog.

Here is the link to the fulltext of the article. However, I’ve linked to Wiley Interscience before, and it’s come up “cookie session error” or something like that, so I will also give instructions on how I found it, if the link doesn’t work.

First, I did a Google search for “joggn, j. obstetric, gynecological and neonatal nursing” and clicked on the first link which took me to, I guess you could say, the Journal‘s home-page, and the current issue. At the top, under “editorials” is the article in question — The “Authorities” Resolve Against Home Birth. Click on “full text” of html, and there you are.

Here is one paragraph to whet your appetite:

I was born in the United States and I am very proud to be an American, but I am embarrassed that our country founded on the ideals of individual liberty and freedom, can also support “authoritative” initiatives such as these by the ACOG and AMA, initiatives that are founded on neither science nor an understanding of the physiologic and psychosocial needs of mothers and babies. What is most risky about home birth in the United States is that for most women who desire it there is a scarcity of qualified providers of home birth services. There is no system of care that provides the needed safety net if transfer to a different type of care is required during labor. Rather, women who desire to birth at home sometimes chose providers unwisely, and those who require transfer are often treated with disdain and disregard as though their decision to give birth outside the hospital system is irresponsible, reckless, and perhaps immoral. There is nothing more inhumane or uninformed than this attitude toward women who desire to birth at home and the qualified providers who are willing to attend them.



2 Responses

  1. Nice!

    Goes well with a quote I just read from Expecting Trouble by Thomas Strong, Jr., M.D.:

    “The perceived need for ritualized medical care during pregnancy is more cultural than medical.”

  2. I really enjoy reading your blog and this post was great. I work with a nonprofit that is sponsoring a contest with a $1000 prize for the best educational video about options during pregnancy and childbirth. It would be fantastic if you wanted to help us spread the word by blogging about it. Contest rules are here: or you can send people to the Facebook page here:

    Thanks in advance for help you can give us!
    ~Melissa Wilson

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