Home Birth Safety
You May Be Surprised

Curious about home birth safety? I hear you. So was I! I had a home birth. I loved it. Do I think it’s for everyone? No! But decide based on facts, not on fear.

I homeschool my kids. I like to buy organic food. I question vaccines. I had a home birth. Am I just a hippy? Nah, I don’t really think so. I just like to research. Well, maybe I don’t actually love the research part per se, but I love to learn. And I think many times we’re a little misled. It took a lot of research of home birth safety for me to feel comfortable taking the plunge.

So….. home birth? Take it or leave it. If you don’t feel comfortable having your baby at home, don’t. Birth how you want. I’ll just share with you a few facts, in case you’re wondering about home birth safety.

At first thought, it seems like it would be a lot safer to have a baby in the hospital. I mean, they have all that technology in case something goes wrong, right?

What most people don’t think about is that many times, when something goes wrong during a hospital birth, it’s related to some sort of intervention. It could be a medical induction that didn’t go so well and ends in a C-section, or a problem with the baby because of drugs that were used during labor.

At a home birth, there are no medical interventions. So, there tends to be fewer complications. Also, at home, the midwife is present for the whole labor- you are her only priority. She pays attention to your labor and what’s happening. She can tell if your labor is moving along the way it should. Midwives can recognize problems early, before the problem becomes an emergency.

A lot of people don’t even realize that trained, professional midwives are present at the vast majority of home births. And the midwives know what they are doing. They know how to handle emergencies, and they carry emergency equipment with them in case they need it.

If you’re like me, you’re saying to yourself “Okay, fine. Show me the research then.”

You bet. Believe it or not, there’s a mound of research about home birth safety showing that for low risk pregnancies, attended by trained professionals, it's at least as safe as hospital birth. I’m just going to give you a big list of studies on home birth safety. There are many more studies I could add, but the list would be huge. You get the idea.

I listed the conclusions of the studies in plain language- if you want to see the whole study, click the link. That will open a new window with the actual research article.


Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America
Johnson, K C, and Daviss, B.BMJ. 330 : 1416 doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7505.1416 (16 June 2005).
Conclusion: Outcomes for low risk mothers and babies were no different between hospital and home birth, but there were more interventions in hospital births.

The cost-effectiveness of home birth
Anderson RE, Anderson DA. J Nurse Midwifery. 1999 Jan-Feb;44(1):30-5.
Conclusion: Home births cost 68% less than hospital births. Rates of mother and baby mortality are lower in the home, and there are less births that end in C-section.

There is no evidence that hospital is the safest place to give birth
Macfarlane A , McCandlish R, Campbell R. Choosing between home and hospital delivery. BMJ. 2000 March 18; 320(7237): 798.

Outcomes of planned home birth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician
Janssen P, Saxell L, Page L, Klein M, Liston R, Lee S. CMAJ. 181 (6-7). (15 Sep 2009).
Conclusion: Planned home births attended by registered midwives had comparable outcomes for mothers and babies, but with less intervention, as planned hospital births.

Home versus hospital birth
Olsen O, Jewell MD. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2000;(2):CD000352.
Conclusion: ”No strong evidence about the benefits and safety of planned home birth compared to planned hospital birth for low-risk pregnant women.”

Home Births
Chamberlain G, Wraight A, Crowley P. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists/Royal College of Midwives Joint statement No.2, April 2007.
Conclusion: “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.”

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