Sunday, June 26, 2005

Study of Home Birth Safety

The British Medical Journal recently published a study of the results for 5418 North American, low risk women who planned to deliver their babies at home with the help of a certified professional midwife, including the 12.1% of those women who were eventually transferred to a hospital. The rates of electronic fetal monitoring, episiotomy, c-section, and vacuum extraction were lower for the home births when compared to low risk hospital births. Mortality rates during and immediately after birth were similar for home births compared to hospitals. The authors conclude that home births with certified midwives are as safe as or perhaps safer than uncomplicated hospital births, and cite a study that found that hospital birth typically costs 3 times that of a home birth. The full text of the article is available online, along with citations for related articles and comments in response to the study. provides information for women considering using a midwife, including a searchable directory of midwifery practices (note that not all midwives perform home births).
The Midwives Alliance of North America provides helpful definitions of the different types of midwives and links to additional organizations.
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