Pregnant women can safely choose to give birth at home – University of Copenhagen

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18 October 2012

Pregnant women can safely choose to give birth at home


A new summary of the best research from the internationally renowned Cochrane collaboration shows that most pregnant women can safely choose to give birth at home. The summary is written by senior Ole Olsen, Research Unit for General Practice, in cooperation with the midwife and PhD Jette Årø Clausen.

The two researchers conclude that there is no generally need to advise the birth to take place at a hospital, as long as the pregnancy is developing normally and the birthing is supervised by a midwife.

In the conclusion of their scientific study, they underline that doctors and midwives should be more active to inform pregnant women about the pros and cons of giving birth at home according to the research.

The scientists have only found two small experimental studies where a draw has taken place regarding the location of birth. These trials are too small to form the basis for strong recommendations. On the other hand, a number of large and well-conducted observational studies have been published in recent years.

These studies show that it is possible to visit healthy pregnant women who wish to give birth at home, with so much certainty that there is no reason to worry about safety.

At least not as long as a midwife assists the birthing and the midwife also has a good ongoing collaboration with the nearest maternity ward, in case a transfer during the birth would prove to be necessary.

But more importantly, the observational studies suggest that the birth is progressing better when it is planned to start at home. There are 20-60% fewer interventions, such as fewer cesarean, epidural blockades and stimulation of labor. There is also 10-30% fewer complications, such as less bleeding and fewer serious ruptures. It also appears that a number of mothers who give birth at home get off to a good start on breastfeeding.

Ref: Olsen O, Clausen Yes. Planned hospital birth versus planlagte home birth. The Cochrane Library, Issue 9, 2012.

Read the full study here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000352.pub2/abstract

The full report can be downloaded in PDF format here: Planned hospital birth versus planlagte home birth.