Home birth often safer than hospital birth, says midwife Soo Downe

Delivering a baby at home could carry less risk of complications than going to the hospital, according to Soo Downe, a professor of midwifery in the U.K.

Downe said research backs up the need for women to have a choice between home and hospital births

Soo Downe, who practised as a midwife for 15 years, said it's important for women to have the option of home births. (University of Central Lancashire)

Delivering a baby at home could carry less risk of complications than going to the hospital, according to Soo Downe, a professor of midwifery at the University of Central Lancashire in the U.K.

"Hospitals are places where people are sick, so [that's the way] we tend to approach it, even if we try really not to. Subconsciously it's really difficult to treat people who are in hospital as not sick," Downe told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

Downe said a new guideline from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the U.K. states women with low risk pregnancies are less likely to need caesarean sections or get infections in home births, rather than hospital births.

Still, Downe — who was a midwife for 15 years and was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to midwifery in 2011 by the Queen — said a home birth isn't for everyone.

"What I advocate for is the best place for each baby to be born and each woman to have their labour, so it's just to make sure that home is there as a viable option."

Downe will be giving UBC's inaugural Elaine Carty Visiting Scholar Public Lecture on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. PT at the Chan Auditorium at BC Women's Hospital.

To hear the full interview with Soo Downe, click the audio labelled: Soo Downe says home births are often safer.

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