Utah health department: Home birth kills babies that would otherwise have lived

The Utah Health Department released a study on home birth, and it mirrors the findings of the data released in Oregon several years ago by Judith Rooks (CNM).

According to page 10 of the document, neonatal deaths in home birth happened at a rate 2.3 x the rate of hospital births. The statistics go on to note that the home birth deaths were reviewed by a committee which states that at least half of the home birth deaths were “strongly” considered to be preventable (meaning those babies would have survived had they been born in hospital). The remainder still had evidence of being preventable, just not as strong of evidence as the other half. None of the cases were considered to be completely unpreventable. The home birth fatalities were attended by midwives, midwives who likely told their clients that home birth is as safe as hospital birth.

What is shocking is that these findings actually skew the data in favor of home birth midwives- the real numbers are likely much worse. For instance, women that transfer to the hospital too late will have their babies death counted as a hospital death instead of a home birth death. You can read more in the “limitations” section of the document.

Here is all the proof anyone should ever need, in black and white- home birth in Utah kills infants that would otherwise have lived. Please refer to my Action Guide at the top of the page if you want to change things for the better.

UPDATE: this large peer reviewed study found nearly the same results. The authors have admitted to soft balling the risk in order to spare themselves the ire of the home birth community.

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3 thoughts on “Utah health department: Home birth kills babies that would otherwise have lived

  1. Reblogged this on Shame On Better Birth and commented:

    If you look at this report it says the number of deaths in free standing birth centers (like Better Birth) are “suppressed” because the numbers of deaths are “very small”. The number of free standing birth centers are also small and Better Birth is the biggest one. it seems like a conflict of interest that the owner of a birth center was involved in the decision to suppress the data regarding how many babies died in them. In terms of safety a free standing birth center is no better than a home birth, so you can still extrapolate the conclusion of the report (that babies die preventable deaths outside of a hospital) to apply to Better Birth and other birth centers like it. It is hard for me to imagine the number is zero since they decided to suppress it.

  2. What are your credentials and affiliations? Does the study differentiate between licensed, physician-sanctioned practitioners and those without training or credentials? That would make the data more clear. Did you read the study

    • There are no home birth practitioners that are physician sanctioned in any meaningful way in the state of Utah. The majority of practitioners are not licensed by the state, a handful are actual nurses and the rest have the dreadfully inadequate NARM certification (which you can earn in 40 births iirc). I did read the study and quote its contents in the article. It is a report intended to inform the public of the health department’s findings, not a study up for peer review (although peer reviewed studies, AGAIN, mirror the 200% or more increase in mortality found in this report).

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