US Study Highlights Homebirth Safety
Chalk up another win for the safety of homebirth. A study of low-risk births in select US birth facilities published in the January 2010 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concludes that homebirths are "associated with a number of less frequent adverse perinatal outcomes" when compared to births that occurred in a hospital facility.
The study, which examined 745,690 low-risk births that occurred in various US facilities during the year 2006, compared the outcomes according to birth site: 97% of the births were in a hospital; 0.6% occurred in a birth center; and 0.9% were at home.
Homebirth babies in this study experienced more frequent 5-minute Apgar scores of less than 7 and researchers noted that "compared to hospital deliveries, home and birthing center deliveries were associated with more frequent prolonged and precipitous labors."
Researchers concluded that the home and birthing center births "were associated with less frequent chorioamnionitis, fetal intolerance of labor, meconium staining, assisted ventilation, neonatal intensive care unit admission, and [low] birth weight."
— Wax JR, Pinette MG, Cartin A, et al. "Maternal and newborn morbidity by birth facility among selected United States 2006 low-risk births." Am J Obstet Gynecol 2010 202:152.e1-5