Published on:

A Different Perspective – United Kingdom Encourages Home Births

Pregnant women in the United Kingdom are urged to give birth at home or in a birthing center. A report by NBC News discusses new guidelines issued by Britain’s National Institute of Health Care and Excellence. The agency concluded that women with uncomplicated pregnancies, which reportedly accounts for about half of all cases, can safely give birth within the comfort of their home with the assistance of a midwife. According to the article, researchers asserted that women are less likely to receive unnecessary surgeries and receive unwanted medications when giving birth outside of a hospital.

This professional advise varies greatly from that given by American experts. In January of this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report about the dangers of home births, after noticing a slight increase in the number of women choosing this birthing environment. The greatest concern is the lack of available resources in case of emergency. A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics supports this theory. Researchers concluded that home birth pregnancies are ten times more likely to result in stillborn births than those taking place inside of a hospital. In addition, the frequency of neonatal seizures and neurological difficulty is reportedly four times higher in home births.

Why the Difference?

The NBS News report explains that the difference in European and American opinions are based on the varying states of midwifery in each country. Midwives in Great Britain are trained in a college environment, with a reported three years of instruction that includes clinical rotations. Their are also licensed through a national system, to ensure consistency in education and skill. These standards are determined by the International Confederation of Midwives.
Midwifery in the United States is licensed by the individual states, and their regulations are vastly different from one another. While American nurse midwives are trained at universities and participate in clinical trials, many midwives are not college educated and receive training through independently owned programs, that may not be state regulated. Further complicating the situation is the fact that some states do not regulate midwives at all.

The general classifications of US midwives are as follows:

***Certified Midwives (CM) – Not necessarily nurses, but meet the requirements of the American College of Nurse-Midwives
***Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) – Nurse practitioners, also meeting the requirements of the American College of Nurse-Midwives
***Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) – Meet certification requirements of the North American Registry of Midwives
***Direct Entry Midwives (DEM) – Not necessarily certified and generally educated through self-study and apprenticeship

Jennie Joseph is a registered UK midwife and a US certified professional midwife. She is quoted in the NBC News article as stating, “In some states, you can have the services of a midwife who isn’t licensed and who may not even have passed a test. She can just hang out her shingle and off she goes.”

If you or your newborn was fatally injured during a midwife-assisted home birth, contact the experienced birth injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti today.

See Related Posts:

New Book Details The Effects of Dealing with A Premature Birth

Advocate Calls for Hospital Births — Raises Awareness of Childbirth Deaths