Low-risk pregnant women who plan to give birth at home have no increased chance of the baby's perinatal or neonatal death compared to other low-risk women who plan to give birth in a hospital, reveals a new study. The findings of the study are published in the journal Lancet's EClinicalMedicine.
"More women in well-resourced countries are choosing birth at home, but concerns have persisted about their safety," said Eileen Hutton, professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology at McMaster, founding director of the McMaster Midwifery Research Centre and first author of the paper.
"This research clearly demonstrates the risk is no different when the birth is intended to be at home or in the hospital."
The study, which is the first systematic review and meta-analyses to use a previously published, peer-reviewed protocol for the research, used data from 21 studies published since 1990 comparing home and hospital birth outcomes in Sweden, New Zealand, England, Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Canada and the U.S. Outcomes from approximately 500,000 intended home births were compared to similar numbers of births intended to occur in hospital in these eight countries.
"Our research provides much-needed information to policymakers, care providers, and women and their families when planning for birth," said Hutton.