In October 2006, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a Statement of Policy on “Out-of-Hospital Births in the United States.” Following feedback from ACOG members and from Childbirth Connection and many other concerned organizations, ACOG issued a revised Statement of Policy on “Home Births in the United States” in May 2007. This Alert and Response describes Childbirth Connection’s concerns with the statements and their implications for mothers and babies.
The revised statement concluded by stating that “ACOG strongly opposes home births” and “does not support programs or individuals that advocate for or who provide home births.” Again, no study was cited to support this position, and existing research in support of planned home birth was overlooked.
The earlier statement asserted that “studies comparing the safety and outcome of US births in the hospital with those occurring in other settings are limited and have not been scientifically rigorous.” ACOG also claimed that the hospital “is the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period.” Consequently, it concluded, ACOG “strongly opposes out-of-hospital births” and “does not support programs or individuals that advocate for or who provide out-of-hospital births.” However, the statement failed to cite any evidence to support the assertions and failed to acknowledge impressive existing evidence regarding the safety of planned home birth and out-of-hospital birth center birth.
Note: ACOG policy statements are not posted in a location that is accessible to the general public. Those who wish to read the current policy about place of birth, “Home Births in the United States” (May 2007) are encouraged to call the ACOG office at (202) 638–5577 to request a copy.
This is an excerpt from a report by Childbirth Connections. To read more visit: www.childbirthconnection.com/article.asp?ck=10465
For the Research Review complete list of references, full articles and web addresses, please visit: http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #16.
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