Sadly, 2011 ended with an appalling 5th confirmed homebirth death in North Carolina. The fourth homebirth death had actually occurred several days later. The death was, as is typically the case with homebirth deaths, needless, senseless, utterly predictable, and totally preventable.
The mother is a doula and had a waterbirth. The baby was a breech with a trapped head. The mother transferred to the hospital with the breech suspended from her vagina. By the time doctors could extricate the baby, she was dead.
This brings the confirmed homebirth death rate in North Carolina in 2011 to an extraordinary 12X times the expected death rate for comparable risk hospital birth (0.4/1000), and proves, yet again, that breech is NOT a variation of normal.
How many babies have to die before homebirth advocates realize that "trusting" birth is a recipe for disaster?
This piece first appeared on The Skeptical OB in January 2012.