Open letter to The New York Times
Thank you for the recent spotlight on birth centers - I wholeheartedly agree that they are an appropriate option for many families.
I’ve worked in both birth centers and home birth and I take issue with only one line in the article.
The author, Alice Callahan, implies that birth centers differ from home birth in that birth centers have “basic equipment on-site and a plan to transfer to the hospital if necessary”. Home birth midwives carry identical equipment and similarly transport when needed. The safety of both has been well established.
In fact, almost every I midwife I know working in a birth center has also done home birth. Most, like me, go back and forth between the two environments over the course of their careers.
There is no need to denigrate home birth to promote birth centers - they are both necessary components of any comprehensive maternity care system.