Monday, August 3, 2009

Jennifer Block on who's winning the home birth debate

New article from Jennifer Block on Who's Winning the Home Birth Debate. It's a step beyond the usual "Hey, home birth might be safe" or "Some people say home birth is safe" articles and into "If research has shown that home birth is safe, why is there still so much opposition?" She writes:

if the only research that will satisfy those with authority and power is research that is unfeasible, the controversy will never be resolved. There could be 20 more large, observational studies that come to the same conclusion as those that already exist, but they still wouldn't be randomized controlled trials. The home birth advocates would continue to say "The research proves it's safe!" and the American medical establishment would continue to say "The research isn't good enough!"

And, as she points out, evidence of homebirth dangers will continue to be produced via anecdote and rounds of "birth telephone".

If anything, I could have done with this article being a lot longer. I liked that she acknowledged the presence of the (in)famous Dr. Amy and Dr. Amy's "debate" site, and I'd like to see her really dig into the statistical discussion, the evidence base, and the depth and breadth of the barriers to translating evidence into practice. Perhaps you'd like to write another book, Jennifer Block?

In the meantime, props to Babble. At a wedding a few weeks ago, I ran into someone I know who works there and I told her I really liked Jennifer Block's response to Hanna Rosin, which they ran. Next time I see her I'll have to add my thanks for this. I hope they keep up the Jennifer Block connection, or at least keep running articles in this vein.


Dou-la-la said...

Wasn't this great? I, too, was left wanting MORE, in a good way.

And YES, I'm so glad she called Dr. Amy out. I would love to see the two of them debate. Or, say, Christiane Northrup or Marsden Wagner vs. Amy. Any of the above! Thunderdome would pale in comparison.

publichealthdoula said...

Did you catch Dr. Amy's throwdown in the comments section? I saw it after I posted this. I'm wondering if Jennifer Block will take her up on it. I'd kind of prefer Sarah Buckley or Christiane Northrup so it was MD vs. MD, but we'll see if it ever happens.

Sheridan said...

I loved it too!

Here is my response.

B said...

I really hope that someone knowledgeable will debate Dr. Amy. It NEEDS to be done, as she keeps claiming there is some conspiracy to mislead poor unsuspecting parents into choosing homebirths. It is great to be critical about birth practices and midwife qualifications, if it is done in a professional way that aims towards improvements, not just to be an ass about it.