Friday, August 28, 2009

ACOG collects data on "unsuccessful" home births?

I got an e-mail on a doula listserv today that ACOG had a survey up on their website asking for anonymous data from OBs on "unsuccessful home births". The e-mail I got was encouraging mothers to go over there and fill it out with their successful home birth experiences. One woman replied saying she'd done one for each of her six home births! By the time I clicked over, ACOG had clearly realized their mistake and put it behind a members-only log-in section.

Here's the data they were collecting, according to the e-mail I got:

Month and year of delivery
Gravida
Para
Maternal Age
Gestational Age
Problem
Fetal Outcome
Pre-Arrival length of labor
Home Attendant


This is disturbing to me becaue it suggests that ACOG is willingly engaging in the game of "Birth Telephone" - encouraging anonymous stories with no way confirm or deny the allegations. It also suggests that rather than debate recent, and strong, research evidence showing planned home birth can be as safe as hospital birth, they'd rather collect these anecdotes as...what? "Proof" for their side? Fuel for the fire? Where is this "data" going?

4 comments:

Amy Tuteur, MD said...

The Midwives Alliance of North America has been collecting statistics on homebirth since 2001. The results are available to those who can prove they will use them for "the advancement" of midwifery. They are not available to the general public.

It does not take a rocket scientist to suspect that MANA is hiding its own data because it confirms that homebirth increases the risk of neonatal death.

If MANA is going to hide its dismal record from women, it would be a public service for ACOG to collect the data and make it available.

Sheridan said...

A doula came up with a great response - a survey of our own.
http://wp.me/p8dlq-dW

publichealthdoula said...

@Amy: There is no scientifically reliable way to use the data ACOG is collecting in the way they are collecting it. It certainly can't be used in place of MANA's data set, regardless of one's opinions on what MANA is doing with their data. So why collect that data at all?

bombe cerise said...

Amy said in her prefab post-

"It does not take a rocket scientist to suspect that MANA is hiding its own data because it confirms that homebirth increases the risk of neonatal death."

And I've said before and will say again to this tired line- No it takes a manipulative troll to spin it that MANA is hiding it's data.

As a midwife who has also done graduate level data collection in another field, no institution or organization releases raw data to just anyone. That is just fact. universities for example are very tight in sharing data because research is competitive. There is a long process for asking to have access to data, as well as requests to IRBs to vet the usage of the data.

I'm so tired of this because this is just such a lame argument.