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Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA


Study Shows Homebirth Superior to Hospital Birth

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

by Ronnie Falcao, homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA

The British Medical Journal has published a study showing that homebirth with midwives is superior to hospital birth similar safety is achieved with lower intervention rates.  If you are a healthy woman with a normal pregnancy, your chances of having a healthy, normal, safe birth are the same whether you plan a home or hospital birth.

The study analyzed the outcomes and interventions at 5418 births attended by certified professional midwives, CPMs.  Some states, such as California, recognize Licensed Midwives (LMs) instead of CPMs, as they have equivalent training and must pass equivalent examination processes.

Over 87% of births planned as homebirths required no medical intervention at all.  For women who planned a homebirth but needed to transfer to hospital-based care, most transferred for lack of progress, or because the mother was tired or wanted pharmaceutical pain relief.  Only 3.4% of women who began labor at home had a transfer which the midwife thought was urgent, such as for a mother's unusually high blood loss, a congenital anomaly, or a baby who was stabilized at home but transferred to the hospital for observation of breathing irregularities.

Overall, for all the women planning homebirths, intervention rates were: epidural (4.7%), episiotomy (2.1%), forceps (1.0%), vacuum extraction (0.6%), and caesarean section (3.7%); these rates were substantially lower than for low-risk US women planning hospital births.

This study is especially important because it was designed and implemented by an epidemiologist to ensure accurate, meaningful results. This is the only study ever published that has met all three of these criteria: the study is big enough, the study distinguished between planned and unplanned home births, and the data are prospective.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists still opposes home birth, but has no valid evidence to support this position. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and several provinces have written statements either acknowledging that women have the right to choose their place of birth or supporting it.

Much of the safety of homebirth is due to respecting the natural, physiological process of birth.  Many hospital-based interventions can actually cause serious problems for the mother and baby: induction, pitocin augmentation, IV narcotics or epidurals.  Another significant factor in homebirth safety is that the baby is born with an immune system that mirrors the mother's immune system, so the baby is born with immunity to all their household germs; infection rates for babies at home are only one quarter of those for babies born in hospitals.

Whereas this study focused on safety, other studies have shown that your chances of having an emotionally satisfying birth experience are much higher if you plan a homebirth.  Babies born at home are rarely separated from their mothers, and breastfeeding success rates are close to 100%.

This Web page is referenced from other pages containing related information about Homebirth Safety/Advocacy and For Parents - How to Get the Best Care


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