The New York Times editorial board issued a surprising opinion statement in support of midwife-assisted births and legislation that supported midwife-assisted births. The Times referenced strong research from the UK that reversed a decades-old stance on the critical importance of birthing in a hospital.
The fact that Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence pointed out that midwife-assisted home births are safer than hospital births for uncomplicated pregnancies will not come as a surprise to many in the Everything Birth community, especially since we discussed just how much safer midwife-assisted home births are over three years ago, in an article entitled “Midwife Assisted Home Births and Why Most People Should Have Them” and regularly on our Facebook page.
The surprising thing about the article is that a reputable newspaper from the United States issued such a strong statement in support of midwife assisted births:
“Although there are important differences between the British and American health systems, there is no good reason that midwives should not play a more important role in childbirth here, despite a longstanding turf war between obstetricians and midwives that has tended to keep midwives under the thumb of doctors.”
In a different article, the New York Times made an even stronger, albeit less opinionated, point about the safety of midwife-assisted home births just weeks ago.
“Reversing a generation of guidance on childbirth, Britain’s national health service on Wednesday advised healthy women that it was safer to have their babies at home, or in a birth center, than in a hospital,” the New York Times reported. in that news article last month.
— Midwifery Care NYC (@MidwiferyNYC) December 1, 2014
Nearly fifteen years ago, when I was first pregnant and considered choosing a midwife for my first birth, everyone around me looked like I suggested that I might want to start eating lead or take up crack just for the baby… but times change, and as French poet Victor Hugo once eloquently pointed out, there is no stopping an idea whose time has come.
Have you had a home birth assisted by a midwife? Feel free to show your support of your midwife by posting a link to her webpage or Facebook page in the comments!
CMAJ September 15, 2009 vol. 181 no. 6-7
New York Times “British Regulator Urges Home Births Over Hospitals for Uncomplicated Pregnancies” p A6, December 4, 2014
New York Times “Are Midwives Safer Than Doctors?” p A26, December 15, 2014
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence “Intrapartum care: care of healthy women and their babies during childbirth” Guidelines [CG190] December 2014