Although home births continue to be controversial, a new study has concluded that home births are no riskier than delivering in the hospital.
The Canadian-led study looked at eight different countries as well as twenty-one different studies done since 1990. They looked at the safety of the place of birth by considering the death rates within the first four weeks post-delivery. They found there was no significant difference in infant mortality rates between home births and hospital deliveries. In fact, the risk was less than one percent in both groups.
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Despite the conclusion, the researchers acknowledged that the rate of home births is declining, as parents-to-be continue to worry about their safety. “More women in well-resourced countries are choosing birth at home but concerns have persisted about their safety,” Eileen Hutton, a professor of gynecology, told The Sun. “This clearly demonstrates the risk is no different when the birth is to be at home or in hospital.”
Perhaps these results will motivate more pregnant mothers to opt for homebirths, which can provide a variety of advantages over traditional hospital births. According to the American Pregnancy Association, many parents find that home births are more intimate. It encourages immediate bonding as well as breastfeeding.
It can also allow you to be surrounded by more loved ones, whereas hospitals often have a limit to how many people can be in the delivery room. Another advantage is that home births can be significantly cheaper, especially in countries like America where healthcare is not universal. The site says that the average home birth typically costs 60% less than delivering in a hospital.
However, despite its relative safety, not every pregnancy is suited for homebirths. It is often only recommended for pregnancies that are healthy and low-risk. It’s also not an option for moms who want or need to have medical procedures, like a C-section or epidural. If something goes amiss during the delivery, there is always a chance the mom or baby may need to be transferred to a hospital.
Do your own research and also consult your health practitioner to find out if a home birth is right for you.