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 (Suzanne Smith of Better Birth) 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.
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 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…
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