Home Birth Is A No-Brainer

Home birth with a midwife is a no-brainer — government statistics since statistical compilation began a century ago show the superiority of non-medical midwife-attended home birth. Yet, a government license does not ensure competence or safety – licensure is about limiting and controlling who can give health care information. For example, the hypocrisy of this licensure myth is obvious in the choice of “expert witness” chosen by the Lake County Illinois State’s Attorney for a recent home birth midwife case. Tabora v. Gottlieb Mem. Hosp., No. 92 C 8179, 1996 WL 563709 (N.D. Ill.) (explaining that a woman died from a hemorrhage following a cesarean section because her obstetrician refused to acknowledge her desperate condition due to his prejudice against the Asian anesthesiologist). The “expert” continued as an instructor for medical students and his Illinois license is pristine. State licensure encourages a false sense of security and denies the public necessary information about the true qualifications of practitioners.

ACOG’s (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) Wisconsin position paper and urgings claiming home birth to be unsafe, are more fodder for a gullible public led to believe only non-physicians are quacks and charlatans. When the Florida legislature was considering a non-nurse midwifery licensure bill, the state medical society claimed midwives were unsafe. However, when pressed to bring forth its proof, nothing was produced. Sadly, Certified Nurse-Midwifery organizations, themselves marginalized by their medical brothers, promote themselves as superior to non-nurse midwives in order to keep the midwifery turf for themselves.

The brains of pregnant women continue to function throughout their pregnancy, even during labor. Instead of legislators paternalistically “protecting” competent adult women from health care choices, states could ensure all women access to the full spectrum of childbearing alternatives and demand unbiased medical back-up for the women’s decisions. Full disclosure of alternatives ensures that an individual’s childbirth choices are wisely made. Legislator’s efforts to diminish our nation’s sorry birth statistics – we are chronically among the worst of industrialized nations – would be better directed at increasing opportunities for educating the public about the benefits of good nutrition, judicious use of technology, and providing access to a wide variety of child birth attendants.