The truth on births at home

The Sunday Times - - News - BRIGID O’CON­NELL

HOME birth is not only as safe for low-risk women and their ba­bies as a hos­pi­tal de­liv­ery, but they are sig­nif­i­cantly less likely to ex­pe­ri­ence med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion and in­juries dur­ing the birth.

The first study into the out­comes of home births has found that women with a high­risk preg­nancy face a sub­stan­tially higher chance of their baby dy­ing.

The re­search into more than 833,000 births in Victoria over 15 years — in­clud­ing al­most 4000 planned home births — was com­mis­sioned by a coro­ner as part of the rec­om­men­da­tions fol­low­ing a home­birth death.

The study, con­ducted by Safer Care Victoria and the Ritchie Cen­tre, found that home birth was safe for women giv­ing birth to one baby at term, when nei­ther mum nor bub had health prob­lems.

Women at high risk, such as hav­ing a mul­ti­ple preg­nancy or pre­vi­ous cae­sare­ans, had al­most a three times greater chance of a still­birth if re­main­ing at home.

Lead au­thor Mi­randa Davies-Tuck said the find­ings sup­ported cur­rent in­clu­sion cri­te­ria for the two pub­lic home-birth pro­grams run­ning along­side ma­ter­nity hos­pi­tals.

“It’s par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in the era of Dr Google to have ob­jec­tive and as­sess­able data,” Dr Davies-Tuck said.

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