Home births as safe as hospital delivery

October 18, 2009


Women who give birth at home do not have any higher rate of complications or death than women who give birth in a hospital. This research was carried out in the Netherlands where one-third of women choose to give birth at home, due to a government encouragement of the policy.

Because the Netherlands has one of the highest rates in Europe of infant death during or just after birth, some researchers have suggested that home births might be unsafe, but when researchers examined data from 530,000 births attended by midwives, they found no difference in the risk of mother or infant death between home births and hospital births.

The study looked only at low-risk women, defined as those going into labour with no known complications, and did not include hospital births attended by a doctor rather than a midwife.

The researchers found that a full one-third of women who began their birth at home eventually had to be transferred to a hospital but in such cases neither the mother nor infant was at any higher risk of dying than in any of the other births in the study.


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