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Midwifery and Epidurals

Okay, how stupid is this? This is from the latest The Week magazine:

Home births safe
Giving birth at home with a professional midwife is just as safe as giving birth in a hospital, says a new study in the British Medical Journal. A study of 5,400 women who gave birth with the help of midwives found 1.7 infant deaths per 1,000 births--a rate similar to that of hospital-born babies. None of the mothers died. About 12 percent did go to the hospital during labor because of complications.

Ah, so it's just as safe to give birth at home as it is at a hospital PROVIDED THAT YOU'VE GOT A HOSPITAL NEARBY WHEN THINGS GET ROUGH! And if those 12 percent--about 650 women--hadn't gone to the hospital when complications arose, how safe would their home births have been then? How misleading they are. The article continues:

Home births proved more "natural": There was a much lower rate of epidural to ease pain, forceps deliveries, and Caesarean sections than in women who gave birth in hospitals.

Well, that's hardly surprising. But this is written as if having epidurals to ease pain is a bad thing. I've often wondered if the advocates of natural child birth (which I had, by happenstance rather than desire, in the case of my elder daughter, so I know whereof I speak) would feel equally sanguine about undergoing, say, an apendectomy without anesthesia.

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Reading Herodotus: A Guided Tour through the Wild Boars, Dancing Suitors, and Crazy Tyrants of The History. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

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