Which birth setting is the safest?

You may be surprised to know that all three settings – home, birth center and hospitals are equally safe. Recent studies show definitively that for low-risk women, there is no improvement in outcome, for mother and baby, in hospital birth as compared to those that happen at home or in a birthing center with an experienced midwife.

MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America) Statistics Project: Outcomes of Care for 16,924 Planned Home Births in the United States, 2004-2009

This landmark study published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, confirms that among low-risk women, planned home births result in low rates of interventions without an increase in adverse outcomes for mothers and babies. Of particular note is a cesarean rate of 5.2%, a remarkably low rate when compared to the U.S. national average of 31% for full-term pregnancies. This study enables families, providers and policymakers to have a transparent look at the risks and benefits of planned home birth as well as the health benefits of normal physiologic birth. To view the pdf file here.

CPM 2000 Study

The British Medical Journal, in publishing this landmark study of planned homebirths summarized in the article, Giving birth: Home Can Be Better Than Hospital, that: “For women with low risk pregnancies in North America, giving birth at home bears similar risks of intrapartum and neonatal mortality as giving birth in hospital, but planned home births are associated with lower rates of medical interventions. In a prospective cohort study, Johnson and Daviss (p 1416) evaluated the safety of home births involving certified midwives in 5418 women who intended to give birth at home when labour began. The study participants experienced substantially lower rates of epidurals, episiotomies, forceps deliveries, vacuum extractions, and cesarean sections than women with low risk pregnancies who gave birth in hospital.” To view the pdf file from the Citizens for Midwifery click here.

homebirth family portland oregonGood reasons to choose a homebirth

You want to experience your birth as a social, family-centered rite of passage, not an institutionalized medical event. Women who give birth at home report a greater sense of control over the experience, and this generally contributes to greater overall satisfaction with the birth experience. In your own home you have the choice of deciding what sounds, smells and faces will surround you when your baby is born. You can lower the lights, play the music of your choosing and invite anyone you want to have around you.

At home you typically avoid unnecessary medical interventions such as episiotomy or constant fetal monitoring which restricts movement. NWCM has a cesarean birth rate of below 8% as compared with Portland hospitals averaging over 30%. With home birth your baby’s birth will proceed gently and naturally unless a real emergency occurs. If you are transported to a hospital during a home birth, with your midwives accompanying you, statistics indicate that you and your baby are just as likely to have a good outcome as if you had started out in a hospital setting

You are never separated from your baby! All care including the newborn exam is done in your presence.

Many experts believe that you and your baby will have a reduced chance of getting an infection if you avoid hospitals which exposure to staph and other bacteria are more possible. One in twenty hospital patients get an infection. Because you are already acclimated to bacteria present in your home, you are protected because you have developed some immunity to them

If you are hoping for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), a home birth offers you the best opportunity to achieve your goal. An appropriate candidate for a home VBAC is one who has a previous low transverse uterine incision, a well-placed placenta, lives within 30 minutes from a hospital and has a strong desire and good attitude about birthing vaginally.

The cost of a home birth is typically 1/4 to 1/10th the cost of a hospital birth.

Interested in learning more? Contact us to schedule a free consultation.