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    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to

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    Feb 22

    Trying to Make Sense of New Study

    Archived User


    While recognizing that Australian medical authorities and government officials are notoriously repressive when it comes to women's autonomy in childbirth, I was disturbed to hear of this recent study on home births in Australia:

    Among the claims are that babies are 7 times more likely to die in planned home birth than hospital birth and 27 times more likely to die from asphyxiation in home birth. 

    As with all studies on controversial issues, this one has had at least one critic come forward to deconstruct it.  Unfortunately, I'm not a BMJ subscriber, so I can't access this rebuttal:

    Because there's little talk of this study in the U.S., I was curious to hear your thoughts.  I've home birthed two babies safely.  But on the surface, I find this disturbingly compelling.





    Henci Goer

    The study you are looking for is Kennare et al. 2010. You can find a critique of the study here. I think it will satisfy your concerns. In addition, my co-author on the forthcoming new edition of Obstetric Myths Vs. Research Realities, Amy Romano, took the lead on the home birth chapter. She points out in the chapter essay that "Three out of the four perinatal deaths occurring in labor or after birth among normally formed babies . . . occurred in cases where the parents were advised against planning home births but refused or delayed hospitalization, and in at least one case a prior poor experience with hospital birth contributed to this refusal." When women are so traumatized by their treatment in labor that they refuse to risk a repeat of the experience, who deserves the blame for that?

    ~ Henci 

    All Times America/New_York

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