Australian mom and home birth advocate Caroline Lovell died on Tuesday after her own home birth. The tragedy has re-ignited discussion about safety in out-of-hospital births.
It’s unclear what happened– Lovell was 36, low-risk; this was her second baby and she was assisted by trained midwives. At some point after the birth she suffered cardiac arrest and was rushed to the hospital where she died the next day. Details about the cause of death will be forthcoming.
Conversations among birth experts in my Facebook circle of friends have speculated that the cardiac arrest may have been caused by an amniotic fluid embolism, something that is rare, tragic and can happen at home or in the hospital.
A spokeswoman for Australia’s Midwives in Private Practice said that Lovell’s death was “an issue about birth, not so much about home birth.”
Homebirth Australia issued a statement via Facebook stating, “In Australia our maternal mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world at 8.4 in every 100,000 women. The latest statistics, from 2003-05, show only 65 maternal deaths occurred in Australia. None of these were related to home births.”
Most news coverage seems to focus on the horrible tragedy, the deep irony and the ongoing question of home birth safety.
I’ll follow-up when we learn more about the cause of death and whether that might have been prevented or resolved in a hospital setting.
How very sad and shocking. Many remember Lovell as a wonderful, caring and charismatic person. My condolences to her family and loved-ones.
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