Based on data from over 42,154 midwife-assisted births from 2000-2004, this book (Christine Loytved / Paul Wenzlaff “Außerklinische Geburt in Deutschland – German Out-Of-Hospital Birth Study 2000–2004”) documents the quality of care in out-of-hospital births in Germany, that is, births at home and in birth centers. Traditional maternal and infant health indicator data are included in this book's analysis, but new indicators of women-centered quality of care are also introduced. Data on maternal and infant outcomes are presented along with data on women’s contact with a midwife during pregnancy and transfer-to-hospital rates.
This study of out-of-hospital births is the largest data set of its kind ever collected in Germany. The data are significant in two ways: First, the data demonstrate the high quality of care that midwives provide to women in out-of-hospital births. For example, most of the women have spontaneous births, even if they have to be transferred to hospital during birth (transfer rate 12%). Second, the data serves as a baseline for the midwifery profession itself, one early outgrowth of which has already been the collaboration between the author and midwives’ associations in establishing 17 professional goals to be met or exceeded in the coming years.
The results of “A German Birth Study” are a challenge to conventional medical assumptions about birth. This book deserves a wide readership and much discussion.