Archive for February, 2008

The Vaccine-Autism Court Document Every American Should Read

Posted February 26, 2008 | 02:38 PM (EST)

Below is a verbatim copy of the US Government concession filed last November in a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims, with the names of the family redacted.t:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/the-vaccineautism-court-_b_88558.h

Every American should read this document, and interpret for themselves what they think their government is trying to say about the relationship, if any, between immunizations and a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

If you feel this document suggests that some kind of link may be possible, you might consider forwarding it to your elected representatives for further investigation.

But, of course, if you feel that this document in no way implicates vaccines, then let’s just keep going about our business as usual and not pay any attention to all those sick kids behind the curtain.

CHILD, a minor,

by her Parents and Natural Guardians,






In accordance with RCFC, Appendix B, Vaccine Rule 4(c), the Secretary of Health and Human Services submits the following response to the petition for compensation filed in this case.


CHILD (“CHILD”) was born on December –, 1998, and weighed eight pounds, ten ounces. Petitioners’ Exhibit (“Pet. Ex.”) 54 at 13. The pregnancy was complicated by gestational diabetes. Id. at 13. CHILD received her first Hepatitis B immunization on December 27, 1998. Pet. Ex. 31 at 2.

From January 26, 1999 through June 28, 1999, CHILD visited the Pediatric Center, in Catonsville, Maryland, for well-child examinations and minor complaints, including fever and eczema. Pet. Ex. 31 at 5-10, 19. During this time period, she received the following pediatric vaccinations, without incident:

Vaccine Dates Administered

Hep B 12/27/98; 1/26/99

IPV 3/12/99; 4/27/99

Hib 3/12/99; 4/27/99; 6/28/99

DTaP 3/12/99; 4/27/99; 6/28/99

Id. at 2.

At seven months of age, CHILD was diagnosed with bilateral otitis media. Pet. Ex. 31 at 20. In the subsequent months between July 1999 and January 2000, she had frequent bouts of otitis media, which doctors treated with multiple antibiotics. Pet. Ex. 2 at 4. On December 3,1999, CHILD was seen by Karl Diehn, M.D., at Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (“ENT Associates”). Pet. Ex. 31 at 44. Dr. Diehn recommend that CHILD receive PE tubes for her “recurrent otitis media and serious otitis.” Id. CHILD received PE tubes in January 2000. Pet. Ex. 24 at 7. Due to CHILD’s otitis media, her mother did not allow CHILD to receive the standard 12 and 15 month childhood immunizations. Pet. Ex. 2 at 4.

According to the medical records, CHILD consistently met her developmental milestones during the first eighteen months of her life. The record of an October 5, 1999 visit to the Pediatric Center notes that CHILD was mimicking sounds, crawling, and sitting. Pet. Ex. 31 at 9. The record of her 12-month pediatric examination notes that she was using the words “Mom” and “Dad,” pulling herself up, and cruising. Id. at 10.

At a July 19, 2000 pediatric visit, the pediatrician observed that CHILD “spoke well” and was “alert and active.” Pet. Ex. 31 at 11. CHILD’s mother reported that CHILD had regular bowel movements and slept through the night. Id. At the July 19, 2000 examination, CHILD received five vaccinations – DTaP, Hib, MMR, Varivax, and IPV. Id. at 2, 11.

According to her mother’s affidavit, CHILD developed a fever of 102.3 degrees two days after her immunizations and was lethargic, irritable, and cried for long periods of time. Pet. Ex. 2 at 6. She exhibited intermittent, high-pitched screaming and a decreased response to stimuli. Id. MOM spoke with the pediatrician, who told her that CHILD was having a normal reaction to her immunizations. Id. According to CHILD’s mother, this behavior continued over the next ten days, and CHILD also began to arch her back when she cried. Id.

On July 31, 2000, CHILD presented to the Pediatric Center with a 101-102 degree temperature, a diminished appetite, and small red dots on her chest. Pet. Ex. 31 at 28. The nurse practitioner recorded that CHILD was extremely irritable and inconsolable. Id. She was diagnosed with a post-varicella vaccination rash. Id. at 29.

Two months later, on September 26, 2000, CHILD returned to the Pediatric Center with a temperature of 102 degrees, diarrhea, nasal discharge, a reduced appetite, and pulling at her left ear. Id. at 29. Two days later, on September 28, 2000, CHILD was again seen at the Pediatric Center because her diarrhea continued, she was congested, and her mother reported that CHILD was crying during urination. Id. at 32. On November 1, 2000, CHILD received bilateral PE tubes. Id. at 38. On November 13, 2000, a physician at ENT Associates noted that CHILD was “obviously hearing better” and her audiogram was normal. Id. at 38. On November 27, 2000, CHILD was seen at the Pediatric Center with complaints of diarrhea, vomiting, diminished energy, fever, and a rash on her cheek. Id. at 33. At a follow-up visit, on December 14, 2000, the doctor noted that CHILD had a possible speech delay. Id.

CHILD was evaluated at the Howard County Infants and Toddlers Program, on November 17, 2000, and November 28, 2000, due to concerns about her language development. Pet. Ex. 19 at 2, 7. The assessment team observed deficits in CHILD’s communication and social development. Id. at 6. CHILD’s mother reported that CHILD had become less responsive to verbal direction in the previous four months and had lost some language skills. Id. At 2.

On December 21, 2000, CHILD returned to ENT Associates because of an obstruction in her right ear and fussiness. Pet. Ex. 31 at 39. Dr. Grace Matesic identified a middle ear effusion and recorded that CHILD was having some balance issues and not progressing with her speech. Id. On December 27, 2000, CHILD visited ENT Associates, where Dr. Grace Matesic observed that CHILD’s left PE tube was obstructed with crust. Pet. Ex. 14 at 6. The tube was replaced on January 17, 2001. Id.

Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a pediatric neurologist, evaluated CHILD at the Kennedy Krieger Children’s Hospital Neurology Clinic (“Krieger Institute”), on February 8, 2001. Pet. Ex. 25 at 1. Dr. Zimmerman reported that after CHILD’s immunizations of July 19, 2000, an “encephalopathy progressed to persistent loss of previously acquired language, eye contact, and relatedness.” Id. He noted a disruption in CHILD’s sleep patterns, persistent screaming and arching, the development of pica to foreign objects, and loose stools. Id. Dr. Zimmerman observed that CHILD watched the fluorescent lights repeatedly during the examination and

would not make eye contact. Id. He diagnosed CHILD with “regressive encephalopathy with features consistent with an autistic spectrum disorder, following normal development.” Id. At 2. Dr. Zimmerman ordered genetic testing, a magnetic resonance imaging test (“MRI”), and an electroencephalogram (“EEG”). Id.

Dr. Zimmerman referred CHILD to the Krieger Institute’s Occupational Therapy Clinic and the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (“CARDS”). Pet. Ex. 25 at 40. She was evaluated at the Occupational Therapy Clinic by Stacey Merenstein, OTR/L, on February 23, 2001. Id. The evaluation report summarized that CHILD had deficits in “many areas of sensory processing which decrease[d] her ability to interpret sensory input and influence[d] her motor performance as a result.” Id. at 45. CHILD was evaluated by Alice Kau and Kelley Duff, on May 16, 2001, at CARDS. Pet. Ex. 25 at 17. The clinicians concluded that CHILD was developmentally delayed and demonstrated features of autistic disorder. Id. at 22.

CHILD returned to Dr. Zimmerman, on May 17, 2001, for a follow-up consultation. Pet. Ex. 25 at 4. An overnight EEG, performed on April 6, 2001, showed no seizure discharges. Id. at 16. An MRI, performed on March 14, 2001, was normal. Pet. Ex. 24 at 16. A G-band test revealed a normal karyotype. Pet. Ex. 25 at 16. Laboratory studies, however, strongly indicated an underlying mitochondrial disorder. Id. at 4.

Dr. Zimmerman referred CHILD for a neurogenetics consultation to evaluate her abnormal metabolic test results. Pet. Ex. 25 at 8. CHILD met with Dr. Richard Kelley, a specialist in neurogenetics, on May 22, 2001, at the Krieger Institute. Id. In his assessment, Dr. Kelley affirmed that CHILD’s history and lab results were consistent with “an etiologically unexplained metabolic disorder that appear[ed] to be a common cause of developmental regression.” Id. at 7. He continued to note that children with biochemical profiles similar to CHILD’s develop normally until sometime between the first and second year of life when their metabolic pattern becomes apparent, at which time they developmentally regress. Id. Dr. Kelley described this condition as “mitochondrial PPD.” Id.

On October 4, 2001, Dr. John Schoffner, at Horizon Molecular Medicine in Norcross, Georgia, examined CHILD to assess whether her clinical manifestations were related to a defect in cellular energetics. Pet. Ex. 16 at 26. After reviewing her history, Dr. Schoffner agreed that the previous metabolic testing was “suggestive of a defect in cellular energetics.” Id. Dr. Schoffner recommended a muscle biopsy, genetic testing, metabolic testing, and cell culture based testing. Id. at 36. A CSF organic acids test, on January 8, 2002, displayed an increased lactate to pyruvate ratio of 28,1 which can be seen in disorders of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Id. at 22. A muscle biopsy test for oxidative phosphorylation disease revealed abnormal results for Type One and Three. Id. at 3. The most prominent findings were scattered atrophic myofibers that were mostly type one oxidative phosphorylation dependent myofibers, mild increase in lipid in selected myofibers, and occasional myofiber with reduced cytochrome c oxidase activity. Id. at 7. After reviewing these laboratory results, Dr. Schoffner diagnosed CHILD with oxidative phosphorylation disease. Id. at 3. In February 2004, a mitochondrial DNA (“mtDNA”) point mutation analysis revealed a single nucleotide change in the 16S ribosomal RNA gene (T2387C). Id. at 11.

CHILD returned to the Krieger Institute, on July 7, 2004, for a follow-up evaluation with Dr. Zimmerman. Pet. Ex. 57 at 9. He reported CHILD “had done very well” with treatment for a mitochondrial dysfunction. Dr. Zimmerman concluded that CHILD would continue to require services in speech, occupational, physical, and behavioral therapy. Id.

On April 14, 2006, CHILD was brought by ambulance to Athens Regional Hospital and developed a tonic seizure en route. Pet. Ex. 10 at 38. An EEG showed diffuse slowing. Id. At 40. She was diagnosed with having experienced a prolonged complex partial seizure and transferred to Scottish Rite Hospital. Id. at 39, 44. She experienced no more seizures while at Scottish Rite Hospital and was discharged on the medications Trileptal and Diastal. Id. at 44. A follow-up MRI of the brain, on June 16, 2006, was normal with evidence of a left mastoiditis manifested by distortion of the air cells. Id. at 36. An EEG, performed on August 15, 2006,

showed “rhythmic epileptiform discharges in the right temporal region and then focal slowing during a witnessed clinical seizure.” Id. At 37. CHILD continues to suffer from a seizure disorder.


Medical personnel at the Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation, Department of Health and Human Services (DVIC) have reviewed the facts of this case, as presented by the petition, medical records, and affidavits. After a thorough review, DVIC has concluded that compensation is appropriate in this case.

In sum, DVIC has concluded that the facts of this case meet the statutory criteria for demonstrating that the vaccinations CHILD received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder, which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder. Therefore, respondent recommends that compensation be awarded to petitioners in accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-11(c)(1)(C)(ii).

DVIC has concluded that CHILD’s complex partial seizure disorder, with an onset of almost six years after her July 19, 2000 vaccinations, is not related to a vaccine-injury.

Respectfully submitted,

Assistant Attorney General

Torts Branch, Civil Division

Deputy Director
Torts Branch, Civil Division

Assistant Director
Torts Branch, Civil Division

s/ Linda S. Renzi by s/ Lynn E. Ricciardella
Senior Trial Counsel
Torts Branch, Civil Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 146
Benjamin Franklin Station
Washington, D.C. 20044
(202) 616-4133
DATE: November 9, 2007

PS: On Friday, February 22, HHS conceded that this child’s complex partial seizure disorder was also caused by her vaccines. Now we the taxpayers will award this family compensation to finance her seizure medication. Surely ALL decent people can agree that is a good thing.By the way, it”s worth noting that her seizures did not begin until six years after the date of vaccination, yet the government acknowledges they were, indeed, linked to the immunizations of July, 2000, – DK


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http://www.medicaln ewstoday. com/articles/ 98156.php

Avoiding Induced Labor Is More Beneficial To Moms And Babies

Throughout pregnancy, many women eagerly anticipate the day they finally
will meet their new baby. This is especially true in the last few weeks of
pregnancy when, as a baby grows larger, an expectant mother becomes
increasingly uncomfortable and impatient to finish out her pregnancy.
Despite the anticipation, research shows that allowing labor to start
naturally, rather than induce, is more beneficial to both mom and baby.

Labor induction, or artificially initiating labor through the use of
medicine, is performed for a variety of reasons. Today, one of the more
common reasons for induction is “convenience. ” Hospitals can staff extra
nurses, physicians can schedule births for times that are most convenient
for them, and expectant parents can make work and family arrangements in
advance according to their scheduled induction date.

At first glance, labor induction may seem more convenient; however, it’s
important to recognize that induction may lead to a longer labor and overall
hospital stay, more medical interventions, higher costs, risk of potential
for litigation, and adverse outcome for a mother or baby.

In the last weeks of pregnancy, a woman’s body and her baby perform crucial
functions to prepare for birth. The baby’s lungs mature and he or she
develops a protective layer of fat. In addition, the baby drops down into
the pelvis, the cervix tilts forward and softens, and irregular contractions
help the cervix thin and begin to dilate. In most cases, a woman’s body goes
into labor only when her body and her baby are ready.

“Research at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School suggests
that it is a signal from the baby that starts the process of labor,” says
Debby Amis, RN, BSN, CD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE. “The best way for a mother to
know that her baby is fully mature and ready to be born is to allow labor to
begin on its own.”

Lamaze International recommends
<http://www.lamaze. org/ChildbirthEd ucators/Resource sforEducators/ CarePracticePape rs/LaborBeginsOn ItsOwn/tabid/ 487/Default. aspx>that
a woman allows her body to go into labor on its own, unless there is a true
medical reason to induce. Allowing labor to start on its own reduces the
possibility of complications, including a vacuum or forceps-assisted birth,
fetal heart rate changes, babies with low birth weight or jaundice, and
cesarean surgery. Studies consistently show that inducing labor almost
doubles a woman’s chance of having cesarean surgery.

“By avoiding induction, women are less likely to encounter other medical
interventions, ” says Lamaze International President Allison J. Walsh, IBCLC,
LCCE, FACCE. “Experiencing natural contractions and laboring without
unnecessary medical interventions increases a woman’s freedom to respond to
contractions by moving and changing positions, both of which facilitate the
process of labor and birth.”

Avoiding induction also decreases the likelihood of a premature birth.
Because neither doctors nor mothers can determine a baby’s due date with 100
percent accuracy, babies may be induced accidentally before they reach full
term (at least 37 completed weeks). A scheduled induction at 39 weeks could
result in giving birth to a preterm baby who is only 36 weeks gestation.
Preterm babies miss critical stages of development that take place during
the last weeks of pregnancy and are at risk are for several postnatal
complications. A study published in *The Journal of the American Medical
Association* examined 4.5 million births in the United States and Canada and
concluded that babies born only a few weeks early-at 34 weeks through 36
weeks-were nearly 3 times more likely to die in their first year of life
than full-term infants.

When medically necessary, inducing labor can be a life saving procedure. The
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
<http://www.acog. org/>states
that labor may be induced if it is more risky for a woman’s baby to remain
inside her body than to be born.

Medical reasons for induction include, a woman’s water has broken and labor
has not begun for several hours; her pregnancy is post term (more than 42
weeks); she has pregnancy-induced high blood pressure; she has health
problems that could affect her baby, like diabetes; there is an infection in
her uterus; or her baby is growing too slowly.

First-time mothers are most vulnerable to the risks of inductions. Contrary
to what many believe, suspecting a large baby is not a medical reason for
induction. It is very difficult for a doctor or midwife to determine the
size of a woman’s baby before birth with accuracy, even with the use of
ultrasound. Studies consistently show that inducing for a suspected large
baby increases, rather than decreases, the incidence of cesarean birth.

Lamaze International has developed a care practice paper entitled “Labor
Begins on its Own,”
<http://www.lamaze. org/ChildbirthEd ucators/Resource sforEducators/ CarePracticePape rs/LaborBeginsOn ItsOwn/tabid/ 487/Default. aspx>which
presents the research surrounding labor induction and tips for avoiding
induced labor
<http://www.lamaze. org/ExpectantPar ents/Pregnancyan dBirthResources/ MoreTipsandTools /InductionTips/ tabid/255/ Default.aspx>.

Childbirth education classes, such as Lamaze, provide women with the tools
and information they need to make educated choices during labor and birth.
To find a Lamaze class in your area, visit http://www.lamaze. org.

*About Lamaze International *

Since its founding in 1960, Lamaze International has worked to promote,
support and protect normal birth through education and advocacy through the
dedicated efforts of professional childbirth educators, providers and
parents. An international organization with regional, state and area
affiliates, its members and volunteer leaders include childbirth educators,
nurses, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, physicians, students and

Lamaze International <http://www.lamaze. org/

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I have alot more to say about the new movie The Business of Being Born, but this youtube video says alot:


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Books on Vaccines

Books on Vaccines
Here are some of the books I have read re: vaccinations. Most can be found on amazon.com or half.comVaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective by Neil Z. Miller
Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults by Randall Neustaedter

How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Robert S. Md Mendelsohn


Vaccines: The Risks, The Benefits, The Choices by DO Sherri J. Tenpenny and Sherri J. Tenpenny; DO (DVD – Nov 9, 2004)

A Shot in the Dark by H. Coulter (Paperback – May 1, 1991)

Just a Little Prick, Peter and Hillary Butler (can be found here: http://www.vaccinationnews.com/just_a_little_prick.htm)

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations by Stephanie Cave and Deborah Mitchell (Paperback – Sep 1, 2001)

Vaccines, Autism and Childhood Disorders: Crucial Data That Could Save Your Child’s Life by Neil Z. Miller and Bernard Rimland (Paperback – Mar 2003)

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Breast milk contains stem cells E-mail to a Friend
Monday, 11 February 2008
ScienceNetwork WA By Catherine Madden


Mammary stem cells (red/blue) and differentiated
adult mammary cells (green) isolated from human
breast milk.

The Perth scientist who made the world-first discovery that human breast milk contains stem cells is confident that within five years scientists will be harvesting them to research treatment for conditions as far-reaching as spinal injuries, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

But what Dr Mark Cregan is excited about right now is the promise that his discovery could be the start of many more exciting revelations about the potency of breast milk.

He believes that it not only meets all the nutritional needs of a growing infant but contains key markers that guide his or her development into adulthood.

“We already know how breast milk provides for the baby’s nutritional needs, but we are only just beginning to understand that it probably performs many other functions,” says Dr Cregan, a molecular biologist at The University of Western Australia.

He says that, in essence, a new mother’s mammary glands take over from the placenta to provide the development guidance to ensure a baby’s genetic destiny is fulfilled.

“It is setting the baby up for the perfect development,” he says. “We already know that babies who are breast fed have an IQ advantage and that there’s a raft of other health benefits. Researchers also believe that the protective effects of being breast fed continue well into adult life.

“The point is that many mothers see milks as identical – formula milk and breast milk look the same so they must be the same. But we know now that they are quite different and a lot of the effects of breast milk versus formula don’t become apparent for decades. Formula companies have focussed on matching breast milk’s nutritional qualities but formula can never provide the developmental guidance.”

It was Dr Cregan’s interest in infant health that led him to investigate the complex cellular components of human milk. “I was looking at this vast complexity of cells and I thought, ‘No one knows anything about them’.”

His hunch was that if breast milk contains all these cells, surely it has their precursors, too?

His team cultured cells from human breast milk and found a population that tested positive for the stem cell marker, nestin. Further analysis showed that a side population of the stem cells were of multiple lineages with the potential to differentiate into multiple cell types. This means the cells could potentially be “reprogrammed” to form many types of human tissue.

He presented his research at the end of January to 200 of the world’s leading experts in the field at the International Conference of the Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation in Perth.

“We have shown these cells have all the physical characteristics of stem cells. What we will do next is to see if they behave like stem cells,” he says.

If so, they promise to provide researchers with an entirely ethical means of harvesting stem cells for research without the debate that has dogged the harvesting of cells from embryos.

Further research on immune cells, which have also been found in breast milk and have already been shown to survive the baby’s digestive process, could provide a pathway to developing targets to beat certain viruses or bacteria.


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Apparently, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has seen The Business of Being Born. Because they have issues a News Release that is about as preposterous as anything I have ever read from a medical establishment.

Below is the News Release, but I have to simply point out that ACOG’s conclusions are not based on evidence.

Lets look at some of their statements.

First, “ACOG acknowledges a woman’s right to make informed decisions regarding her delivery and to have a choice in choosing her health care provider, but ACOG does not support programs that advocate for, or individuals who provide, home births.”

Informed decisions in a hospital are less and less likely as time goes by. Women are not being given a choice! I have read many studies on my risks of having a repeat C-section vs. having another VBAC (I had my VBAC 2 years ago after 2 c-sections). I have determined that many risks of having a repeat c-section are much greater than having a VBAC. However there are very few hospitals in the U.S. that truly support a VBAC. Many will say they support moms attempting a VBAC, but when it comes down to the time of delivery, many women are then pushed into a c-section due to “large baby” determination, or “you are overdue” or “you have been in labor too long…failure to progress” diagnosis. Some of these reasons may be justified in some cases, but in many, they are not. It is those women and babies who are threatened. Inducing a VBAC has become more common and unfortunately, often leads to a c-section also. Women have very little control of their labors while in hospitals which leads to more c-sections.

ACOG goes further to state “Childbirth decisions should not be dictated or influenced by what’s fashionable, trendy, or the latest cause célèbre.” Are they kidding us? How fashionable has it become to have an elective c-section? Give me a break!

I especially love this fear tactic: “Despite the rosy picture painted by home birth advocates, a seemingly normal labor and delivery can quickly become life-threatening for both the mother and baby. Attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) at home is especially dangerous because if the uterus ruptures during labor, both the mother and baby face an emergency situation with potentially catastrophic consequences, including death. Unless a woman is in a hospital, an accredited freestanding birthing center, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, with physicians ready to intervene quickly if necessary, she puts herself and her baby’s health and life at unnecessary risk.” See the study below which shows that women are much safer and at less risk of a repeat c-section if attended by a midwife instead of an OB. This is all about money to ACOG. They have NO evidence to back this claim.

Lastly (because what they are saying exhausts me right now), ACOG states “Choosing to deliver a baby at home, however, is to place the process of giving birth over the goal of having a healthy baby”. *I* am certainly not putting the process of giving birth over the goal of having a healthy baby and a healthy mommy. Neither are many women that I know who chose birthing at home, even if alone, to birthng in a hospital because we know that the medical professionals will not be patient with us..they will not respect our decisions..they will simply fall into their routine of time schedules and management and look at us as another mom who is bettter off being induced or sectioned. I chose not to be among people like that when I birth this child.


ACOG Statement on Home Births Washington, DC — The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reiterates its long-standing opposition to home births. While childbirth is a normal physiologic process that most women experience without problems, monitoring of both the woman and the fetus during labor and delivery in a hospital or accredited birthing center is essential because complications can arise with little or no warning even among women with low-risk pregnancies.

ACOG acknowledges a woman’s right to make informed decisions regarding her delivery and to have a choice in choosing her health care provider, but ACOG does not support programs that advocate for, or individuals who provide, home births. Nor does ACOG support the provision of care by midwives who are not certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) or the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).

Childbirth decisions should not be dictated or influenced by what’s fashionable, trendy, or the latest cause célèbre. Despite the rosy picture painted by home birth advocates, a seemingly normal labor and delivery can quickly become life-threatening for both the mother and baby. Attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) at home is especially dangerous because if the uterus ruptures during labor, both the mother and baby face an emergency situation with potentially catastrophic consequences, including death. Unless a woman is in a hospital, an accredited freestanding birthing center, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, with physicians ready to intervene quickly if necessary, she puts herself and her baby’s health and life at unnecessary risk.

Advocates cite the high US cesarean rate as one justification for promoting home births. The cesarean delivery rate has concerned ACOG for the past several decades and ACOG remains committed to reducing it, but there is no scientific way to recommend an ‘ideal’ national cesarean rate as a target goal. In 2000, ACOG issued its Task Force Report Evaluation of Cesarean Delivery to assist physicians and institutions in assessing and reducing, if necessary, their cesarean delivery rates. Multiple factors are responsible for the current cesarean rate, but emerging contributors include maternal choice and the rising tide of high-risk pregnancies due to maternal age, overweight, obesity and diabetes.

The availability of an obstetrician-gynecologist to provide expertise and intervention in an emergency during labor and/or delivery may be life-saving for the mother or newborn and lower the likelihood of a bad outcome. ACOG believes that the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex, that meets the standards jointly outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and ACOG, or in a freestanding birthing center that meets the standards of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, The Joint Commission, or the American Association of Birth Centers.

It should be emphasized that studies comparing the safety and outcome of births in hospitals with those occurring in other settings in the US are limited and have not been scientifically rigorous. Moreover, lay or other midwives attending to home births are unable to perform live-saving emergency cesarean deliveries and other surgical and medical procedures that would best safeguard the mother and child.

ACOG encourages all pregnant women to get prenatal care and to make a birth plan. The main goal should be a healthy and safe outcome for both mother and baby. Choosing to deliver a baby at home, however, is to place the process of giving birth over the goal of having a healthy baby. For women who choose a midwife to help deliver their baby, it is critical that they choose only ACNM-certified or AMCB-certified midwives that collaborate with a physician to deliver their baby in a hospital, hospital-based birthing center, or properly accredited freestanding birth center.

# # #

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is the national medical organization representing over 52,000 members who provide health care for women.



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The Truth About VBAC

“As long as you are of legal age and able to think clearly, logically, and coherently for yourself, you should never cede that responsibility [to make your own health decisions] to anyone else – not your doctor, not your friends, not to your family, not to the heath gurus, and especially not the media.  Unlike many among the health police force, I believe that you are easily smart enough to evaluate the news.  You really have no choice.  People are finally realizing that they cannot trust the health industry machine anymore.  That means you must come to rational, intelligent decision based on the best that science has to offer”  – From Eat, Drink, & Be Merry by Dean Edell, MD


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