Letter: Home births

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As a doctor and a recent attender at National Childbirth Trust antenatal classes, I read with interest the contrasting views expressed by Marina Baker and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on home and hospital births (Review, 26 August). Our NCT classes never sought to "romanticise childbirth or to attack the medical establishment". We were provided with unbiased information on all aspects of childbirth, from home birth to epidurals.

Doctors are not usually the best people to give advice about normal health. We are trained to detect and manage illness. Obstetricians are only present at hazardous or complicated births - not at the far greater number of normal deliveries.

Lack of choice and misinformation are extremely stressful and can only accentuate the pain of labour. Clear, unbiased advice is needed to allow parents and healthcare professionals to decide on the most suitable place for each individual birth.


London E1