Now Playing:


Think Out Loud

Battling Over Birth?

Pete Springer/OPB

Oregon State University says a new study describes a “pattern of distrust” in the relationship between hospital physicians and midwives who transport their patients to hospitals due to complications during homebirths.

The study (led by OSU assistant professor and midwife Melissa Cheyney) looked at birth records in Oregon’s Jackson County from 1998 through 2003 to determine whether a correlation existed between poor health outcomes and homebirths.

While the study didn’t find a link between the two factors it did reveal ongoing conflicts between doctors and midwives with physicians asserting that only hospital births were safe. This finding is in line with a 2008 American Medical Association resolution (pdf), which stated:

The safest setting for labor, delivery and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex.

Have you given birth in a hospital or with the help of a midwife? What was your experience? Did you experience tension between doctors and midwives?

Are you a doctor or a midwife? What conflict exists between the two professions?

Special thanks to moline543, who suggested a show about homebirths and midwifery a few months ago. We liked the pitch, but wanted to wait until the issue had gained some newsy prominence. Now it has.


births doctor home delivery midwives parenting school

More Think Out Loud

More OPB

Join the Conversation

Send Think Out Loud A Message