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Home Birth With Midwife As Safe As Hospital Birth: Study
Date:8/31/2009

Canadian researchers find lower rate of complications

MONDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Having your baby at home with a registered midwife is just as safe as a conventional hospital birth, a new study says.

In fact, planned home births of this kind may have a lower rate of complications, according to the study published in the Sept. 15 issue of CMAJ.

Even though the study was conducted in Canada, where attitudes toward midwifery are more accepting than in some other countries, the findings may help to calm an ongoing controversy in the United States and elsewhere.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is opposed to home births, as are certain organizations in Australia and New Zealand. More organizations in Great Britain are supportive and Canadian provinces are currently transitioning to midwifery, said study lead author Patricia Janssen, director of the Master of Public Health Program at the University of British Columbia.

Janssen, a registered nurse who has midwife training though not certification, said: "People who function as independent midwives are not necessarily tightly regulated [in the U.S.] depending on which state you're in, so there may not be a guarantee that they have had an adequate level of training or a certified diploma or anything like that. And they may not be monitored and regulated by a particular professional college."

The controversy has resulted in a lack of clear regulation and licensing requirements in the United States, said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

According to Greenfield, the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives does have a certification process but many states don't recognize it. "If you're a woman who wants to have a home birth, how do you determine if this person has appropriate qualifications?"
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