Homebirth Safety Studies

1. de Jonge A, van der Goes B, Ravelli A, Amelink-Verburg M, Mol B, Nijhuis J, Bennebroek Gravenhorst J,Buitendijk S. Perinatal mortality and morbidity in a nationwide cohort of 529 688 low-risk planned home and hospital births. BJOG 2009.

Conclusions  This study shows that planning a home birth does not increase the risks of perinatal mortality and severe perinatal morbidity among low-risk women, provided the maternity care system facilitates this choice through the availability of well-trained midwives and through a good transportation and referral system.


2. Outcomes Associated with Planned Home and Planned Hospital Births in Low-Risk Women Attended by Midwives in Ontario, Canada, 2003-2006: A Retrospective Cohort Study.” Birth. 2009 Sep;36(3):180-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-536X.2009.00322.x.

Conslusions. Midwives who were integrated into the health care system with good access to emergency services, consultation, and transfer of care provided care resulting in favorable outcomes for women planning both home or hospital births.


3. Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America. BMJ 2005;330:1416

Conclusions Planned home birth for low risk women in North America using certified professional midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention but similar intrapartum and neonatal mortality to that of low risk hospital births in the United States.


4. Schlenzka, Peter F. 1999. “Safety of Alternative Approaches to Childbirth.” Unpublished Dissertation. Palo Alto, Calif: Stanford University

Conclusions. Under no circumstances do the California data for 1989 and 1990 allow the obstetric profession to uphold the claim that for the large majority of low-risk women hospital birth is “safer” with respect to perinatal mortality. Our data also suggest that even for the high-risk levels of our Study Population the natural approach (including transfers) produces the same perinatal mortality outcomes as the obstetric approach.


5. Meta-anlaysis of the Safety of Home Birth. Olsen, O. (1997), Meta-analysis of the Safety of Home Birth. Birth, 24: 4–13. doi: 10.1111/j.152-536X.1997.00004.pp.x

Conclusion: Home birth is an acceptable alternative to hospital confinement for selected pregnant women, and leads to reduced medical interventions.


6. Ackermann-Liebrich, Ursula, Thomas Voegeli, Kathrin Gunter-Witt, Isabelle Kunz, Maja Zullig, Christian Schindler, and Margrit Maurer. 1996. “Home versus Hospital Deliveries: Follow-up Study of Matched Pairs for Procedures and Outcome.” British Medical Journal 313:1313-1318.


7. Wiegers, T. A., M J N C Keirse, J. van der Zee, and G. A H. Berghs. 1996. “Outcome of Planned Home and Planned Hospital Births in Low Risk Pregnancies: Prospective Study in Midwifery Practices in the Netherlands.” British Medical Journal 313:1309-1313.


8. The Safety of Home Birth: The farm study. A M Duran, American Journal of Public Health. 1992 March; 82(3)450.

Conclusion. The results of this study suggest that for relatively low-risk pregnancies, home birth with attendance by lay midwives is necessarily not less safe than conventional (hospital-physician) delivery. Support by the medical and legal communities for those electing, and those attending, home birth should not be withheld on the grounds that this option is inherently unsafe.


9. Tew, Marjorie, and S. M. I. Damstra-Wijmenga. 1991. “Safest Birth Attendants: Recent Dutch Evidence.” Midwifery 7:55-63.


10. Van Alten, Dik, Martine Eskes, and Pieter E. Treffers. 1989. “Midwifery in the Netherlands. The Wormerveer Study: Selection, Mode of Delivery, Perinatal Mortality and Infant Morbidity.” British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 96:656-662.


11. Treffers, Pieter E., and R. Laan. 1986. “Regional Perinatal Mortality and Regional Hospitalization at Delivery in The Nederlands.” British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 93:690-693.


12. Tew, Marjorie. 1986a. “Do Obstetric Intranatal Interventions Make Birth Safer?” British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 93:659-674.


13. Mehl, L. F., L. A. Leavitt, G. H. Peterson, and D. C. Creevy. 1976. “Home versus Hospital Delivery: Comparison of Matched Populations.” in Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association. Miami Beach, FL.

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Peggy O'Mara

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Editor and Publisher of peggyomara.com. Longtime natural living advocate, award winning writer, and independent thinker.

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