Homebirth safety

Australian College of Midwives Homebirth Position Statement 2011 and Literature Review

An extensive review of all available research internationally on homebirth and the position statement of the Australian College of Midwives. Download now

Royal College of Obstetricians and Royal College of Midwives Joint Position Statement on Homebirth

“The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) support home birth for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families. There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman’s likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby.

Home Birth: An annotated guide to the literature

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This annotated bibliography provides citations and critical appraisal of original studies on home birth. Study selection was based on comprehensive searches of the following databases: EBSCO, PubMed, and Cochrane. This bibliography was published by the Division of Midwifery in the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia in collaboration with the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the Midwives Alliance of North America.

Perinatal mortality and morbidity in a nationwide cohort of 529,688 low-risk planned home and hospital birth

This is the largest study of the safety of home birth that has ever been done, and the authors rightfully argue that the Netherlands is the only Western country that a study of this size could be done, as about 30% of Dutch women give birth at home. They analysed the births of all low risk women who delivered between Jan 1, 2000 and Dec 31, 2006.

This study shows that planning a home birth does not increase the risks of perinatal mortality and severe perinatal morbidity among low-risk women, provided the maternity care system facilitates this choice through the availability of well-trained midwives and through a good transportation and referral system. (2009)

Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America

A study of over 5000 births in the USA and Canada. Women who intended at the start of labour to have a home birth with a certified professional midwife had a low rate of intrapartum and neonatal mortality, similar to that in most studies of low risk hospital births in North America. A high degree of safety and maternal satisfaction were reported, and over 87% of mothers and neonates did not require transfer to hospital.

An economic analysis found that an uncomplicated vaginal birth in hospital in the United States cost on average three times as much as a similar birth at home with a midwife in an environment where management of birth has become an economic, medical, and industrial enterprise. (2005)

Outcomes of planned home birth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician

This Canadian study of over 12,000 births showed planned home birth attended by a registered midwife was associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of obstetric interventions and other adverse perinatal outcomes compared with planned hospital birth attended by a midwife or physician. (2009)