Home births safe for low-risk pregnancies: North American study
Last Updated: Friday, June 17, 2005 | 8:36 PM ET
Researchers studied how well 5,418 women and their babies fared in 2000. The women all planned to give birth at home in Canada or the United States using certified midwives.
Kenneth Johnson, a senior epidemiologist with the Public Health Agency of Canada in Ottawa and his colleagues compared the safety of home births to low-risk hospital births.
"Our study of certified professional midwives suggests that they achieve good outcomes among low-risk women without routine use of expensive hospital interventions," the team concludes in the June 18 issue of the British Medical Journal.
Carolyn Manning prepares for her upcoming home birth as son Ethan, who was also born at home, looks on.
At 1.7 deaths per 1,000 planned home births, the mortality rate was comparable to what earlier studies found for low-risk hospital births in North America.
Use of medical interventions such as forceps, epidurals and caesarean sections were less than half those in low-risk hospital births, according to the study.
Mothers who gave birth at home also reported a high degree of satisfaction.
In 87 per cent of the cases, mothers and babies did not need to go to hospital, the researchers reported.
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