I've just returned from a trip to Turkey and am happily settling back into the normal (albeit Ramadan) routine. Now that I'm home and have no plans to significantly travel for the next few months, I'm eager to start working with moms again. Two interesting articles in the NYTimes on childbirth in the past couple of days, the first on the rising demand for homebirth. This article cites controversy around a recent study from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology stating that home birth is 3x more likely to result in the death of an infant prior to four weeks. Apparently, however, this study lumped planned homebirths with unplanned. A planned homebirth is typically low-risk, attended by a skilled midwife, and carefully thought-through. An unplanned homebirth tends to include women who are hiding their pregnancy and/or don't have insurance.
The second article looks at a recent March of Dimes initiative to curb inductions and planned c-sections prior to 39 weeks. A Campaign to Carry Pregnancies to Term notes:
...Although guidelines issued 12 years ago by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists cautioned against elective delivery by induction or Caesarean before 39 weeks, an overwhelming majority of new mothers and many doctors who deliver babies believe it is just as safe for birth to occur weeks earlier. But the medical facts say otherwise. With each decreasing week of gestation below 39 to 40 weeks, there is an increased risk of complications like respiratory distress, jaundice, infection, low blood sugar, extra days in the hospital (including time in the neonatal intensive care unit), and even deaths of newborn babies and older infants.