Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Home Birth Summit update

Guess who was invited to the upcoming Home Birth Consensus Summit? Me!

I am really excited to participate in this event. I am also curious to see how things play out. There's been a lot of grumbling about who was chosen and how. With a limited number of slots for each stakeholder, inevitably most of those interested (and qualified) will not be able to attend. Because of that, some have already dismissed the summit as inherently flawed. I'm not going to pass judgment on the summit, though, before it even happens.

If you have a perspective you'd like to add, please comment at the open forum for the home birth summit.


  1. VERY glad you're part of the summit!

  2. Knowing you'll be there gives me a lot of comfort - my second wish would be for well rounded mama to be there!

  3. Linda bennett7/23/11, 10:59 AM

    Dear Rixa, I am very pleased you will be going to this "Summit". It appears that my concerns have been dismissed by your statement in your blog:"some have already dismissed the summit as inherently flawed" I have not dismissed this "Summit". I think it is critically important that the forces opposed to mothers' choice of Home Birth are exposed for what they are. I prefer "Truth". This is not the time for a group agreement if the group includes forces opposing midwifery and home birth.

    I believe the weighting of the "Summit" is what stimulated concern. I prefer open communication and more of it, not less.

    These are my concerns as I wrote in my letter (slightly abbreviated here)about the "Summit":
    Subject: Home Birth Summit:
    Are you invited? Who is going?

    I have concerns about this "Summit." I want to encourage communication with invited participants the same way I have encouraged communication with our elected representatives. These participants have been appointed to represent the interests of mothers, families, and, coordinated by a midwifery group, I also assume the interests of midwives. I have every hope this will be the case. My long experience with some of the groups that have been invited raises some doubt.

    The "Home Birth Summit", scheduled for some time and some place in the Fall of 2011, is being coordinated by the organization called "Future Search". The ACNM originated and identified a need to hold this "Summit".

    The American College of Midwives has many CNM members who actively support families and mothers who want a low-tech physiologic labor and birth in the hospital, in birthing centers and at home. CNMs have demonstrated over and over the value of personalized physiologic management that dramatically reduces unnecessary major surgery while improving outcomes. Their work continues to be overlooked, ignored and impeded by Obstetric professionals in overt and subtle ways. If this summit was only held with these particular participants I would have little concern for the outcome.

    Unfortunately the ACNM also has very vocal and politically active members who oppose home birth and/or non-nurse midwifery on local and national levels. Here in Oregon we have the "Home Birth Safety" committee organized by L&D nurses and CNMs in Portland at OHSU for instance. Nothing they have done has improved home birth safety in Oregon, rather their actions have polarized the birthing community and has caused even more mothers to consider unassisted home birth for their VBAC attempts after multiple cesareans.

    It should not surprise the ACNM and Future Search organizers that home birth families, midwives with home birth practices, and long-standing Birth Activist groups and individuals feel uncertainty about the outcome of a "Summit" top-heavy with groups who have a history of opposition to maternal choice as well as to the independent practice of midwifery.

    We have a vested interest in this "Summit" as its pronouncements will be used against maternal choice at every possible opportunity. Statements made in any documents released as a result of this "Summit" will be entered into testimony for or against legislation affecting mothers, families, home birth and midwives across the USA.

    Is Lynn Paltrow invited? Her work with NAPW has been as one of the most effective advocates for mothers in the USA in the tradition of Doris Haire.

    The reality is that home birth exists in the form it is currently functioning in the USA because of what it offers mothers and families AND because of what hospital-based ACOG-controlled maternity care does not.
    Please communicate to individuals carefully selected for participation in this "Home Birth Summit". They have been selected to represent you.

    Linda Bennett
    retired Home Birth Midwife
    Home Birthing Mother
    Birth Activist


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