Study Reveals Home Births As Safe As Hospital Births

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

June 20, 2005

Nowadays, more couples are choosing to have their babies at home, and recently a study published in the British Medical Journal deemed planned home births to be just as safe as hospital births.

"A lot of things just led us to have those first home births, and they went beautifully," said Alexandra O'Brien.

Eight months into her third pregnancy, Alexandra O'Brien is looking forward to having another home birth.

"There are a lot less distractions, the midwives are there taking care of this one person, they get to know them a lot better," she said.

Unlike Alexandra, safety concerns have forced some women to shy away from home deliveries, but a new study shows differently. Researchers looked at more than 5,000 planned home births with professional midwives in the U.S and Canada. They found 87 percent of mothers and babies did not need to be transferred to a hospital.

This "corroborates what all other studies that have been done on home birth in other countries, is that home birth with a skilled provider, and a planned delivery is as safe as hospital birth," said Certified Professional Midwife Brynne Potter.

Here in Virginia, legislators recently passed a bill licensing Certified Professional Midwifes, so if something were to go wrong during a home birth, the mother and the midwife would have quicker, more efficient access to hospital care.

"I think it's important that people have a full scope, so that people have options, and so that home birth will be an option," said O'Brien.

But with only a small percentage of women choosing this birth option, it may still take some time before more women choose their home over a hospital.

The study also found the use of medical interventions, such as forceps, epidurals, and Caesarian Sections to be less than half of those in low-risk hospital births.

In addition, home births may be significantly easier on your pocketbook. An average, uncomplicated home birth costs about 60% less than it would in a hospital.

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