Is home birth safe?

Planned home birth with a midwife is a safe option for low risk mothers. Many people mistakenly view home birth as “less safe” than hospital birth. However, countries who have midwives as the leaders of maternity care and where home birth is considered among the norm experience better birth outcomes than countries where birth is facilitated in hospital settings with obstetricians. Families and individuals who choose home birth must be comfortable with taking responsibility for their health and personal choices. Each family must decide what risks they are comfortable with taking.

A high quality, peer reviewed study of almost 17,000 home births was published in Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health in 2014. CPMs were the care providers for most of these births. The study found the following:

  • The average cesarean rate was 5.2%, compared to the national average of 32%
  • About 1 in 10 women were transferred to a hospital, mostly for stalled labor or the need for an epidural
  • Home birth mothers experience lower rates of intervention
  • 97% of babies were carried to full term
  • Only 1% of babies needed to be transferred to a hospital after birth, most for non-urgent reasons
  • 86% of newborns were exclusively breastfeeding at 6 weeks of age

The study concluded that, “Low-risk women… experienced high rates of normal physiologic birth and very low rates of operative birth and interventions, with no concomitant increase in adverse events.”

Follow this link to view the full study.

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