While not a common choice in America, a recently published study has shown home birth with trained midwives to be a safe option for low risk pregnancies. Midwives are highly qualified professionals, who are trained in normal natural child birth. Midwives see the mother from the first prenatal consult, until about 6 weeks postpartum. Midwives know the warning signs of something going wrong and they know when a hospital transfer is needed. A midwife will bring some equipment such as oxygen and pitocin to a home birth.
In a study that looked at 17,000 planned home births, the cesarean rate was 5.2%. This is incredibly low, especially compared to the United States national cesarean rate which is 31% for full-term pregnancies. Over all, home birth mothers have been shown to have lower medical intervention rates during labor. While some interventions are necessary for the health of the mother baby unit, many times interventions are done unnecessarily or for convenience. Women who birth at home have less episiotomies, pitocin and pain medication. Unnecessary medical interventions each pose their own risks, so it is best that interventions are kept to a medical necessity only.
The babies in this study were born healthy and safe. 97% of the babies were carried to full term, at a healthy weight. In this study, 1% of babies were transferred post birth, most for non-urgent reasons. This study also found that babies born at home, to low risk mothers did not have a higher mortality rate in the first few weeks of life compared to babies born in hospitals.
In conclusion, with the properly trained team home birth should still be considered a very safe and normal options for families. Home birth allows us to embrace the normalness of giving birth, and this is something we mustn’t lose.