Thursday, September 17, 2009

Latest Study on Home Birth From the Canadian Medical Association Journal

The September 15th issue of Canadian Medical Association Journal has a new study on the safety of home birth in comparison to hospital birth.

"The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada encourages research into the safety of all birth settings. It does not take a specific stand on home birth. In 2008, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reiterated its longstanding opposition to home births, stating that the choice to deliver at home places the process of giving birth ahead of the goal of having a healthy baby. In contrast, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom has issued a statement supporting home birth as a viable choice for women with uncomplicated pregnancies.

"In this study, we ascertained outcomes of all planned home births attended by registered midwives in an entire health region with a single-payer universal health care system. We compared them with the outcomes of all planned hospital births that met the criteria for home birth and were attended by the same cohort of midwives. We also compared the outcomes of a matched sample of women of similar risk status who planned to deliver in hospital with a physician in attendance.

"Our study showed that planned home birth attended by a registered midwife was associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of obstetric interventions and adverse maternal outcomes compared with planned hospital birth attended by a midwife or physician. Our population rate of less than 1 perinatal death per 1000 births may serve as a benchmark to other jurisdictions as they evaluate their home-birth programs."

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