An analysis of births in Oregon finds that for every 1,000 deliveries intended to occur at home, 3.9 end in perinatal death.
The number of women in the United States giving birth at home or in birthing centers has significantly increased. Now debate is intensifying over an important question: How safe is it to have a baby outside a quality hospital?
‘A study of births in Oregon reveals that for every 1,000 deliveries intended to occur at home, 3.9 end in perinatal death.’
According to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that compares with 1.8 of every 1,000 births expected to take place in a good hospital.
Researchers calculated that there were 1.52 more deaths per 1,000 births when the deliveries were planned for homes instead of hospitals. That equates to a 2.43 times increased risk that a child will die before it can be safely delivered or in the first 28 days after birth.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 59,000 babies were born outside hospitals in 2014.
Melissa Cheyney, a certified professional midwife in Oregon who also heads the Midwives Alliance of North America's research division, told The New York Times that she appreciated the study's results and its tone.
"As long as we have divisive debate, I'm not sure how much progress we're going to make in making it possible for women who are going to choose home birth anyway to have a safe outcome," she said.