Monday, May 4, 2009

American College of Nurse-Midwives Position Statement on Home Birth

Because I'm planning a home birth for the first time, I'm reading everything I can find on the subject. I recently came across the American College of Nurse-Midwives Position Statement on Home Birth, and I thought I would share it with my readers.

One thing I find interesting in the statement is that the ACNM stresses the importance of properly categorizing planned home birth and using it as a basis for clinical studies.

"The safety of birth in any setting is of utmost priority and has been the focus of home birth research. Investigators have defined “planned home birth” as the care of selected pregnant women by qualified providers within a system that provides for hospitalization when necessary. Recently, high quality controlled trials and descriptive studies have established that planned home births achieve excellent perinatal outcomes. Home birth is also credited with the reduced use of medical interventions that are associated with perinatal morbidity." (italics added)

"Unfortunately, studies which have not differentiated between planned and unplanned home birth or attendance by qualified versus unqualified attendants, and/or that do not clearly define appropriate inclusion criteria, have been used to discredit all home birth. The evidence indicates that appropriate client selection, attendance by a qualified provider, sound clinical judgment, and transfer to a receptive environment when necessary, promote safe outcomes."

I appreciate the position of the ACNM. They have established criteria for planned home births and encourage expectant parents to be properly informed so they can make the best decision for them and their babies.

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