Monday, November 16, 2009

Birth Centers Versus Homebirth

Over the next few days I will look at birth centers vs. home birth.

Last week, Rixa Freeze asked her readers to comment on her blog about freestanding birth centers as opposed to homebirth. She referenced an article she wrote in 2007 entitled "Worst of Both Worlds."

I would like to thank Rixa for talking about the hybrid birth facility and also mention that Dr. Stuart Fischbein is thinking along the same lines.

In some respects, asking her blog readers their opinion of birth center versus homebirth may not be fair. The reason is that almost all U.S. birth centers were designed to look like home birth, therefore in most instances, there is no major difference between freestanding birth centers and home birth, other than women at homebirth are more comfortable in their own home’s.

It is my personal belief, and I have spoken on it on many occasions, that the U.S. birth center model that most birth centers follow is not a viable, business model. Granted, the outcomes are generally excellent, however, most of these birth centers have been struggling financially.

Today's birth center’s still follows the model that was developed in the mid 1970’s: “Find a one family house, make one or two birth rooms, an exam room , an office and a classroom and you now have a birth center."

With the above model, it's easy to see Rixa’s point of worst of both worlds. In fact, ACOG’s change in its statement accepting birth center's while stating that out of hospital birth is unsafe, would be laughable, since there's almost nothing you can do in a a birth center that cannot be done at a homebirth. This statement, however, is easier to defend, since they limited their acceptance of birth centers to those that are accredited. This does not mean that I believe this statement is right, it just means they can offer a defense. (This does not insinuate that the defense is a good one).

Tomorrow- Birth Centers of the Past VS Birth Centers of the Present


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