Safety of Home Birth

Safety of Homebirth

There is a growing awareness of the benefits and safety of homebirth for low risk women. In fact Britain’s national health service recently advised healthy women that it was safer to have their babies at home than in a hospital. These guidelines were determined by the government after careful review of their recent research. 

In this country, there are two highly credible prospective studies that support the safety of homebirth. They are published in the journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health 2014,59(1) and The British Medical Journal 2005;330:1416(18 June). 

The evidence revealed in this research is ~ women planning out of hospital births under the care of CPMs had substantially lower rates of intervention, including epidural, episiotomy, vacuum extraction, forceps-assisted delivery and cesarean sections. 

Links to factsheets of these studies can be found here:

Birthing at home is not for everyone. For instance, if a woman has epilepsy or insulin dependant diabetes it would be appropriate for her to work with a high risk OB and plan to deliver in the hospital. Likewise, if a woman is low risk and doesn’t have any pre existing conditions she is a candidate to have a safe and healthy maternity course with a midwife and deliver her baby in her own home. Not all women who begin midwifery care with the goal of delivering at home end up at home. The overall transfer rate is approximately 11%. Throughout the course of pregnancy, labor and delivery women and their babies are closely monitored. With close attention and careful guidance many problems can be avoided. If a condition arises that warrants a transport to the hospital the midwife and her assistants will oversee a safe transfer. Safety is a primary concern when considering where and with whom to seek maternity care. It is possible to shop around and choose a provider whether a doctor or a midwife who is a good fit for you. It’s important to find someone who is knowledgeable, skilled and caring in order to maximise overall outcome and satisfaction.
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