Home Family Practice Safety of Midwife-Attended Home Births Studied

Safety of Midwife-Attended Home Births Studied

In Ontario, about 10 percent of births attended by midwives; about 20 percent of these are at home

TUESDAY, Dec. 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) — For expectant mothers who plan to give birth with midwife assistance, home birth could be a safe option for those with low-risk pregnancies, according to a study published in the Dec. 21 issue of CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Eileen Hutton, Ph.D., director of the Midwifery Education Program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and colleagues compared almost 11,500 planned hospital births to the same number of planned home births in the province of Ontario from 2006 to 2009. Midwives assisted all the pregnancies, which were all considered low-risk.

The researchers found that the incidence of stillbirth or neonatal death was 1.15 per 1,000 births in the planned home birth group and 0.94 per 1,000 in the planned hospital birth group. Eight percent of the at-home group needed emergency medical services, compared to 1.7 percent in the planned hospital group. The home birth group was less likely to receive interventions such as labor augmentation.

“Among women who intended to birth at home with midwives, the risk of stillbirth, neonatal death, or serious neonatal morbidity was low and did not differ from midwifery clients who chose hospital birth,” Hutton said in a McMaster news release.

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