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Free Content In Search of a Common Agenda for Planned Home Birth in America

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Leading maternity provider organizations in North America have been in conflict about birth at home and birth centers, debating issues related to safety, access, the value of obstetric intervention, and patient autonomy. In today’s environment, childbirth educators and doulas are often required to explain to parents why physiological birth and evidence-based, low-technology methods of labor and birth care are not available in every setting, and why maternity providers disagree about birth place. There are very few regions in the United States where home birth providers are integrated into interprofessional provider networks that allow for seamless care across birth settings. In October 2011, multidisciplinary leaders met at a Home Birth Consensus Summit in Warrenton, Virginia, to discuss the status of home birth within the greater context of maternity care in the United States. This article describes the intent and outcomes of the summit. Four of the nine consensus statements developed at the summit are of particular interest and importance to mothers and families and, hence, to childbirth educators and advocates. Consumers, educators, and birth advocates are encouraged to widen the circle, identify communications experts, lead individual projects, or serve as advisors.

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Keywords: birth place options; childbearing experiences; childbirth education; home childbirth; informed choice; interprofessional conflict; interprofessional education; maternity care

Document Type: Guest Editorial

Affiliations: Division of Midwifery at the University of British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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