Is Home Birth Really Unsafe? A New Study Says Home Birth Results In More Infant Deaths, But Are The Figure What You Should Base Your Choice On?

I'm actually an home birth advocate so this new study headline about home birth tripling the risk of infant death...
I'm actually an home birth advocate so this new study headline about home birth tripling the risk of infant death threw me for a loop. After reading it though, I'm happy to report that sensational titles don't always mean sensational news. The new study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, is a review of past research not a full blown study. The report tells us some positive things we already know, such as planned home births are associated with fewer maternal interventions including epidural analgesia, electronic fetal heart rate monitoring, episiotomy, and operative delivery. Women who deliver at home are also less likely to experience lacerations, hemorrhage, and infections.In good news for babies, planned home births result in fewer premature birth, fewer low birth weight babies and less instances of assisted newborn ventilation. The negative news associated with this review is that fewer medical intervention during planned home birth is associated with a tripling of the neonatal mortality rate. According to the researchers, they have no clue why the death rate for babies might be higher. They estimate that a higher proportion of home-birth deaths may occur because of newborn breathing problems. In hospital, these deaths related to breathing issues "Are often prevented with the help of special equipment and trained medical staff." What this means to you: I'm taking it as an FYI. While it sounds bad to say, "Triple the amount of babies die" you have to put this in perspective. The chance of newborn death is low no matter where you give birth in the USA. For example, the biggest study to date on home birth shows that newborn death rate is just 1.7 deaths per 1000 planned home births. The researchers note that just 4 in 10,000 die after a planned hospital delivery (0.04 percent). BUT a positive hospital birth is not regulated across the board. You have to consider that maternal health plays a big role in having a healthy baby, and that 4 in 10,000 figure sounds nice, but depending on where you live and the hospital you go to, the death rate could be substantially higher than a planned home birth. For example, Mississippi has a newborn death rate of 11.4 deaths per 1,000 births across the board due to many factors such as low-funded hospitals and sub-par maternal care. Also many hospitals have much higher baby death rates than the average due to poor labor and birth management and the situation is worse for babies lacking health insurance. Before you choose a home or hospital birth you need to consider how likely you are to have a difficult labor or complications requiring hospital care. Factors that can increase your risk include being very overweight, not having a care provider, such as a midwife present, avoiding prenatal care and having previously had a cesarean section or difficult birth. Basically, it's not the numbers you should be thinking about so much as if home birth is right for you. Case in point - the word "triple" doesn't freak me out. When comparing facts, I'd still have a home birth so long as I had an uncomplicated pregnancy because fewer interventions matters to me. Your midwife or doctor will be able help you weigh the risks and decide whether a home birth or a hospital birth is the right choice for you and your baby. Also see why so many women in the USA are dying in childbirth.

Tags: ama american medical association baby death in homebirth home birth is a choice home birth safety homebirth safety hospital birth outlaw home birth outlawing of home birth women’s rights


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