Homebirth Hooey and Hokum

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Pod Cast of this article: Homebirth Hooey and Hokum

HOOEY: def – silly or worthless talk, writing, ideas, nonsense; bunk: syn: nonsense, BS, bunk, rubbish, drivel, bull, pish, tosh, horse hockey, tommyrot, balderdash, malarky, foolishness, bunkum, huey, hogwash, poppycock, bilge, absurdity, babble, baloney, bananas, blather, bombast, bunk, claptrap, fatuity, flightiness, folly, garbage, gibberish, giddiness, hot air, imprudence, inanity, irrationality.

HOKUM: def – misleading, being dishonest syn: beguilement, betrayal, blarney, boondoggle, cheat, circumvention, craftiness, cunning, deceit, deceitfulness, deceptiveness, defraudation, dirt, disinformation, dissimulation, double-dealing, dupery, duplicity, equivocation, falsehood, fast one, flimflam, fraud, fraudulence, guile, hokum, hypocrisy, imposition, insincerity, juggling, lying, mendacity, pretense, prevarication, snow job, sophism, treachery, treason, trickery, trickiness, trumpery, untruth

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are dealing with an increasingly incredulous birthing population who are rejecting their style of “knock em’ out drag em’ out” childbirth.  The young female birthing population is increasingly turning to new media for sources of information regarding childbirth, vaccinations, and psychiatric care, and the Medicos do NOT like having their monopoly broken up.

So a new “homebirth study” in the form of a blatently politicized piece of propaganda has now been published attempting to PROVE that homebirthed babies have a three fold increase of death over hospital born children.

The Globe and Mail reports:

U.S. analysis on home birth risks seen as deeply flawed

“The new study suggests more babies die during deliveries at home than in hospital, but doctor who produced some of the data calls the conclusion ‘sensationalist’

A new study by U.S. researchers questions the safety of giving birth at home, suggesting that more babies die during home births than during hospital deliveries. But Canadian researchers, whose data were extracted and used in the study, say that conclusion is deeply flawed.

The meta-analysis of 15 studies, led by Joseph Wax of the Maine Medical Center’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, found that giving birth at home tripled the risk of neonatal death.

Patricia Janssen, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s school of population and public health, says that conclusion is “sensationalist” and based on data that are in some cases decades old, on very small samples and in some cases incomplete.”

Gloria Lemay

Canadian Midwife Gloria Lemay wrote on her Facebook page:

“I was called by the press today to give a comment on this “breaking story”. Why do these people get press and we can’t get press to expose the horrific induction rate?”

Midwife Wendy Gordon wrote on Glorias Facebook wall:

I just took a look at the meta-analysis, and the authors cherry-picked studies from all over the globe to give them the results they wanted. The only studies included from the US were Wax’s own meta-analysis of morbidities published earlier this year (he didn’t analyze deaths at all in that study), the infamous Pang study that is notorious for including unplanned home birth and preterm births, and some random study of a homebirth practice in rural Sonoma county published in 1984.

The excellent Johnson & Daviss homebirth study from 2005 was not included. The other studies were from Canada (6 studies), Australia (4), Netherlands (4), UK (2), Sweden (2), Scotland and Switzerland (1 each). Wax’s conclusions really don’t say anything about the safety of homebirth in the US, and frankly, the results aren’t generalizable anywhere on the planet since the healthcare systems and midwifery care are vastly different amongst the countries analyzed.

What a ridiculous analysis.”

The Big Push for Midwives group sent out a press release in response to the study, it is linked below.

The Big Push for Midwives Press Release

On the ICAN Blog several quote from the press release are shared:

ICAN Blog: Increased risk of home birth is pure fiction

7 July 2010, 10:23 pm

“The Big Push for Midwives released a statement today in response to publicity surrounding a forthcoming article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that claims to show home birth is unsafe. From the press release:

As New York and Massachusetts moved to pass pro-midwife bills in the final weeks of their legislative sessions, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology fast-tracked publicity surrounding the results of an anti-home birth study that is not scheduled for publication until September. Described as unscientific and politically motivated, the study draws conclusions about home birth that stand in direct contradiction to the large body of research establishing the safety of home birth for low-risk women whose babies are delivered by professional midwives.”

The release further quotes Dr. Michael C. Klein:

Many of the studies from which the author’s conclusions are drawn are poor quality, out-of-date, and based on discredited methodology. Garbage in, garbage out.” said Michael C. Klein, MD, a University of British Columbia emeritus professor and senior scientist at The Child and Family Research Institute. “The conclusion that this study somehow confirms an increased risk for home birth is pure fiction. In fact, the study is so deeply flawed that the only real conclusion to draw is that the motive behind its publication has more to do with politics than with science.”

Several days ago, Amy Romano at Science and Sensibility expressed her own doubts about the study, highlighting these points:

1. The meta-analysis is compromised by the inclusion of a deeply flawed study that relies on birth certificates and includes preterm births, unplanned home births, and home births attended by unqualified providers. In the only analysis in which the researchers excluded this study, the significant excess of neonatal mortality disappeared.

2. The meta-analysis also includes studies that report on births that took place as early as 1976.

The Big Push notes that the timing of publicity initiated by AJOG is questionable, at best:

Given the fact that New York just passed a bill providing autonomous practice for all licensed midwives working in all settings, while Massachusetts is poised to do the same, the timing of this study could not be better for the physician groups that have been fighting so hard to defeat pro-midwife bills there and in other states,” said Susan M. Jenkins, Legal Counsel for The Big Push for Midwives Campaign. “Clearly the intent is to fuel fear-based myths about the safety of professional midwifery care in out-of-hospital settings. Their ultimate goal is obviously to defeat legislation that would both increase access to out-of-hospital maternity care for women and their families and increase competition for obstetricians.”

The Globe and Mail ended its analysis of the study with these words:

Joseph Wax MD

U.S. analysis on home birth risks seen as deeply flawed

Michael Klein, emeritus professor of family practice and pediatrics at the University of British Columbia, says the analysis and its conclusion has to do with the climate in the United States around midwifery. It is less accepted by the medical profession there than it is in Canada, he said.

“We’re dealing with a politically motivated study,” said Dr. Klein, who was a co-author with Dr. Janssen on the B.C. study.

Dr. Wax could not be reached for comment. His study was published Thursday in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.”

Dr. Waxs study is being ballyhooed around the Media as if it was the Gospel truth.

Informed parents would do well to reject such junk science as the little bit of propaganda that it is.

Paul and Jenny Hatch 2005

Jenny Hatch

Editor in Chief of Blog Mom Magazine

PS

I am a LOUD promoter of Husband and Wife Home Childbirth.  My personal Blog, The Natural Family Blog is DEDICATED to the promotion of Family Centered Homebirth.  If you would like to learn more about this style of childbirth, please review the Videos I have prepared on this topic.  I also organized our second conference that was held in 2001 in Louisville Colorado.

Jeannine Parvati Baker

Laura Shanley by Tony Gallagher for Westword

Laura Kaplan Shanley and Jeannine Parvati and Rico  Baker were the keynote speakers, if you would like to watch the Conference Videos, they are hosted on my blog here.

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