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Debate over home births

Debate over home births


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Midwives in Utah say home births can be safe, despite a new editorial published in the medical journal Lancet.

The editorial titled "Home Births -- Proceed With Caution," says "women have the right to choose how and where to give birth, but they do not have the right to put their baby at risk."

But Utah licensed direct-entry midwife Holly Richardson says planned home births have low risk.

Richardson says licensed midwives should not take high-risk women, like those in pre-term labor or with diabetes. She says low-risk or normal-risk pregnancies are as safe, if not safer than in the hospital.

"We're not doing Pitocin, we're not having mom strapped to the bed. Labor proceeds at a normal pace, so we see a lot less complications. If they arise we address them quickly and can transport to the hospital."

Richardson says the article quoted small and flawed studies.

"In the U.S. the medical community tends to look down on home births, whereas other countries are much more likely to look at home births as an option. In the Netherlands, for example, 30 percent of their babies are born at home."

According to the editorial, in the U.S. home delivery accounts for 1 percent of births or 25,000 deliveries per year.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

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