France: A bill examined in the Senate to authorise ‘birth houses’

Publié le : 12 February 2013

 On 28 February, the Senate will examine a bill allowing an experiment with ‘birth houses’. These structures, which "enable women to give birth without being hospitalised," have no doctors. The overall accompaniment, involving the monitoring of the pregnancy, the delivery and its aftermath, is provided by midwives and is intended for patients "with no pathology or real risk." Both the National Council of the Order of Midwives and the National College of French Gynaecologists and Obstetricians are favourable to this project.           

Muguette Dini, the centrist senator and author of the bill, points out that for "questions of safety [and] in order to ensure a rapid transfer of the mother to a medical team in case a problem arises," the ‘birth houses’ are to be located near maternity wards, with which an agreement is signed.
In France, "the pilot projects can be counted on the fingers of one hand" whereas "there are nearly 150 in Germany." The senator adds that "these structures help to reduce the pressure on maternity units." On average, "the cost of a deliver in a ‘birth house’ is assessed at €600 (structure and fee of the midwife), compared to €3,000 and 4.4 days of hospitalisation in a maternity unit, the average time observed."

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