Apparently Portland, Oregon is the second best city to have a baby. So sayeth our evil overlords at Watch What Happens Live! No wait. That’s not it. I meant What To Expect When You’re Expecting.
Portland, Oregon is second on the list — sandwiched in between San Francisco and Boise (I’m skipping the obvious Larry Craig joke right here, and for that you are very welcome).
Since the site’s criteria apparently includes a head count on the doula population and proximity to farmer’s markets (because where else do you go for placenta recipe inspiration?), perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, but it seems to me that we’re missing some important data.
In 2012, the mortality rate for babies born at home in Oregon was six to eight times higher than the rate for babies born in a hospital. (The State of Oregon collected data on home births in Oregon for 2012; that information was analyzed by Judith Rooks, a certified nurse midwife and researcher, as described in her testimony at a 2013 legislative hearing.)
Should we just ignore that number? I don’t think so. From Judith Rooks’ testimony:
[O]ut-of-hospital births are not as safe as births in hospitals in Oregon, where many of them are attended by birth attendants who have not completed an educational curriculum designed to provide all the knowledge, skills and judgment needed by midwives who practice in any setting.
You shouldn’t laud a city for its high number of midwives without looking at the whole picture of midwifery care — in Portland, in Oregon, and in the rest of the United States.