The new CDC report on home birth is everywhere, media-wise, including CNN and NPR. Deservedly so–Marian MacDorman (from the CDC) and Eugene Declercq (Boston University School of Public Health) have teamed up on excellent studies of a number of maternity care topics, including cesarean section, VBACs, and, of course, home birth. Their work is always trustworthy and accurate.
Not mentioned in the CDC report (because it wasn’t really the subject) are the benefits to the home-born baby, particularly in terms of the development of the immune system, and lessened risk of future chronic diseases like asthma, eczema, diabetes and obesity.
As the safety issues of home birth are brought more clearly into focus–the Birthplace in England study showed that, in a well-integrated maternity care system (which most of the U.S. is not, at present), home birth for women having a second or subsequent birth is as safe as a hospital birth–the long-term health advantages for the baby should be included as a prominent part of the discussion.