Provided they do not fall into a risk group, women who give birth at home are less likely to have serious complications than women who have planned hospital deliveries.
This is the conclusion of researchers from, among others, the VU medical center.
The researchers do emphasize that the risk of serious complications is small anyway and that their findings are only significant for women who have given birth before. Of all Western countries, the Netherlands has the largest percentage of home deliveries.
Subject of discussion
The safety of giving birth at home has been the subject of discussion for some time. Studies have been done on this topic before, but they were too small to compare serious complications from planned home deliveries and hospital deliveries.
For this study, the scientists extracted more than 146,000 useful cases from existing data from a national study of serious problems in women who had a child and the National Midwives Register between August 2004 and August 2006.
The results were adjusted for factors such as maternal age, ethnic background and socio-economic status. Of the women in the study, 63 percent had a home birth and 37 percent had a hospital birth.
Of the women in the study who had given birth before, 1 in 1000 of those who gave birth at home experienced serious negative effects, compared with 2.3 in 1000 in the group who gave birth in hospital. In home deliveries, 19.6 in 1000 experienced severe postpartum bleeding, while that in hospital deliveries was 37.6 in 1000.
In women who gave birth for the first time, the results went in the same direction, but the differences were not significant. The researchers emphasize that their results only apply to countries or areas where midwives are well trained for home deliveries and where good and fast transportation is available in case things go wrong at home.
Also, the finding that home births should not cause more complications “should not lead to satisfied reclining, because any unnecessary complication in a mother – regardless of where the delivery takes place – is one too many,” the researchers said.
Their final conclusion is therefore: “Women who gave birth at home under the supervision of an obstetrician were no more likely to have serious complications, postpartum bleeding and manual removal of the placenta than women who had a planned hospital delivery.”