Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Midwives help fill maternity-care gap left by closings of rural hospitals and delivery rooms

More than half of rural counties in the U.S. don't have a hospital that delivers babies, which can endanger the lives of both mother and baby and increase the likelihood of planned Caesarian sections. But a new study suggests that community midwives could help safely help rural women with low-risk pregnancies to deliver by home birth.

Researchers from Oregon State University, Bastyr University, and the University of British Columbia examined the outcomes for rural women who give birth at home or at a birth center to similar births in metro areas of the U.S., and found that women in both areas had no significant difference in outcomes. Though rural women often face greater health problems such as obesity and smoking that can cause problems during delivery, the researchers found that rural midwives generally have good outcomes because they screen clients before offering a home birth and refer women who may need more specialized care to a hospital when possible, UBC Health News reports.

And even when rural women are able to plan a hospital delivery, a midwife can deliver prenatal and postpartum care at home, meaning the patient doesn't have to do as much traveling. 

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