BC= British Columbia :)
While I agree most studies do have merit, not all studies are going to be treated equally, nor without bias (some more and some less). The biggest trouble comes from the interpretation of the study. For example, ACOG's homebirth study, stating that home birth had worse outcomes. However A- ACOG has a financial stake in this study, unlike most countries, the USA is more focused on the economical outcomes of their medical studies, birth in the US is a billion dollar industry and it has always had more focus on making money rather then having good outcomes. ACOG doesnt make money from homebirths therefore it is more likely that they would speak out against them. B- The study included accidental homebirths, which is not an accurate portrayal of homebirth statistics. C- It is very easy to take a study that does not have an extremely clear cut outcome and bend the facts to how you wish to portray them. ESP when it comes to the general public who will be reading newspaper articles with an overview and not reading the actual study itself.
There isnt going to be an unbiased study in the realm of childbirth, because most people involved are very passionate on one side or the other and for many reasons. However it is extremely important to look at how the study was conducted, who conducted it and the conclusion that they have drawn from it. The very best thing to do is not look at the individual studies but look at a meta-analysis which combines many studies into one to look at the overall outcomes.
here is one:
and here is a rebuttal of a meta-analysis
The biggest problem I have found USA vs other countries, is that the USA publishes these studies in an attempt to discredit other providers, it's a power struggle. Whereas other countries, such as Canada, uses them as guidelines to review and improve maternity care.
criteria (probably) not being as vigorously enforced in the US as in a Canada (at least for the purpose for the study):
a long list of things that excludes a mom from a homebirth: no GD, no twins, no breech, no over due-dates, no VBA2C.
What "BC" are you referring to?
Btw, I'm german, so about the only thing I know about ACOG is what the acronym stands for.
Also, if I'm not mistaken, one of the studies here was done in cooperation with NARM, and THEIR members probably are a bit biased on the subject too (since they also depend on their income from attending births)
Still, I think that, even if a study is funded by a certain group, in most cases the findings will be mostly valid regardless. To quote (from an entirely different thread):
(taken from page 2 of this thread: http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1325057/do-you-think-there-is-common-ground-in-vax-discussion-effective-communication-101/20 )
On the other hand "evaluating the actual points someone is making" can be tricky, since our own psychology can get in the way:
Quote: Sure enough, a large number of psychological studies have shown that people respond to scientific or technical evidence in ways that justify their preexisting beliefs. In a classic 1979 experiment , pro- and anti-death penalty advocates were exposed to descriptions of two fake scientific studies: one supporting and one undermining the notion that capital punishment deters violent crime and, in particular, murder. They were also shown detailed methodological critiques of the fake studies—and in a scientific sense, neither study was stronger than the other. Yet in each case, advocates more heavily criticized the study whose conclusions disagreed with their own, while describing the study that was more ideologically congenial as more "convincing."