nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Babies Born At Home: Moms Recover Quicker, But More Babies Die.

An inflammatory title, right?  Relax a bit.  The differences are statistically significant...but very small.

For almost all women birth at home is a safe procedure.  But the circumstances that contributed to the higher death rate from home birth are just those you might expect when advanced resuscitation equipment was not available.  As reported by BBC News (July 1), a study of 500,000 births in the US and Europe
"The researchers described their findings of a doubling of the risk of neonatal mortality among those planning home birth as "striking", because it is often those with the lowest risk of complications who do not need to deliver in hospital. When researchers took out babies with congenital abnormalities, the risk was threefold.  When deaths occurred among the home birth group, they were overwhelmingly attributed to respiratory problems during birth and failed attempts at rescuscitation."
But before we get all excited about this, we're talking about a risk that's in the range of 0.02%.

Also, as you might expect, midwife organizations challenge the results.

Home birth deaths have been falling for some time, because we're better able to tell which women are healthy--and have healthy babies--that can, if they choose, safely give birth at home.  Conversely, we are better able to advise women who are at risk that they shouldn't.  Ultrasound has been a major factor in this trend.

Over the years, I've seen some really stupid decisions to give birth at home, but I understand why some women would prefer it.  Hospital care can be dehumanizing to some--and not to others.  If it was me, I would give away "homey" feelings for advanced critical care technology and expertise.

But women will say I'm not in a position to judge the experience.  Rightly so...
Doc D

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