Home Birth May Be Safer Than Hospital Delivery, Says Study

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A Dutch study has found that having a baby at home with a midwife is likely safer than going through childbirth in a hospital environment.

The study, which was released in English to LiveScience last week, examined the experiences of 146,000 women – 92,000 of whom delivered a child at home, while 54,000 gave birth at a hospital. It found that only one in every 1,000 mothers who chose home birth experienced serious delivery complications (like needing a blood transfusion) – compared with 2.3 complications per thousand for those who gave birth at the hospital.

Home births also produced a lower rate of less-severe complications (like postpartum bleeding or having to manually remove the placenta). In fact, the rate of postpartum hemorrhage for home deliveries was nearly half (19.6 per thousand) that of hospital births (37.6 per thousand).

The study group was composed of women whose risk for in-pregnancy complications was minimal, and the study doesn’t advise expectant moms to plan for a home birth if they’re bringing to term a pregnancy with aberrant complications.

It also speculated that statistics produced in the Netherlands, where home births are common, would favor the relative safety of home births there, since midwives are well-trained and integral to the Nation’s medical community.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • Elevenarrows

    Studies have shown for many years that it is safer to deliver at home. America has a shockingly bad maternal and infant morbidity rate compared to other nations. Midwifery is treated as a criminal element in some states. Home birth is a misdemeanor in some states. Meanwhile, in Europe, women are encouraged to deliver at home except for rare instances of complications requiring hospitalization.
    My husband has delivered some of our children at home. We have eleven. I spent 7 years researching before attempting my first home birth. I don’t recommend it for everyone because both the woman and her husband have to be willing and able to accept personal responsibility for their decision. If the couple is willing to educate themselves on the truth of home birth vs. hospital birth and if the woman does not need to be “risked out”, delivering a baby at home can be a wonderful experience.
    It is a fundamental right that should not be criminalized. I suspect hospitals know they cannot compete with the experience and are not willing to lose the power and control they currently have over birth in America. From the moment a woman walks into a hospital to deliver her child, she is often treated as a child. The times I have delivered in a hospital, I have done it my way. Women are often bullied into things they do not want simply by being told it is “state-mandated” and they do not have a choice. NOT TRUE. I have successfully bucked the system over and over again. It helps if you enlist the support of a doctor with whom you have established a good rapport.