Homebirth Facts No One's Telling You

Author - Maryn Leister

Chances are you have never heard the truth about why homebirth is a safer choice for low-risk pregnancies. And if you're not newly pregnant, it is never to late to consider your options and give birth to your baby at home.

"The first intervention in natural childbirth is the one that a healthy woman does herself when she walks out the front door of her own home in labour."— Michael Rosenthal, OB/GYN (from Midwifery Today E-news 7:24)

1. In studies comparing home vs. hospital births. homebirths supervised by a “trained attendant” indicate fewer deaths, injuries and infections. Respiratory distress in newborns was 17 times higher in the hospital than at home. (1)

2. The US has the highest obstetrical intervention rates of any country. (1) The US is currently ranked 28th for infant mortality (that means 27 other countries have a better rate of infant survival than we do). (5, 33)

3. The superior outcomes seen in homebirths are not because the women are at lower risk or in any way special or different from women planning hospital births. (2)

4. You are very likely to have a c-section if you chose a hospital birth. The WHO concluded that there is no reason for any region of the world to have a cesarean rate of more than 10-15%. As of 2004, the US has a 29.1% c-section rate. This rate is up from 27.6% in 2003. (2, 20) (3) C-section infants also are four times more likely to die than those born vaginally. (5, 31)

5. The newest study, done in 2005 and published in the British Medical Journal showed homebirth with a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) to be as safe as hospital birth. The rates of medical intervention at home were lower, and the study showed a high satisfaction rate for mothers. (4)

6. The vast majority of woman are 2 to 6 more times likely to die if their babies are delivered in the hospital. (5, 25)

7. If your baby is born at home with a midwife, instead of in a hospital with an OB, he is six times more likely to survive his first year. (5, 29)

8. The longer your second stage of labor, the more likely you are in to receive a c-section when at the hospital. At home, there will likely be no time limit on your pushing stage unless there is a real problem. (5, 46)

9. When your birth is attended by a midwife, your chances of hemorrhaging and/or continuing to hemorrhage are significantly reduced. (5, 58)

10. A study published in the November 2003 of The Lancet found that c-sections double the rate of stillbirth before labor begins, in women who have had a previous c-section (and most likely a hospital birth). (5, 105)


1. From Is Homebirth for you? 6 Myths about Childbirth Exposed http://www.gentlebirth.org/format/myths.html
2. Goer, Henci. The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.
3. ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) http://www.ican-online.org/
4. http://www.mana.org/CPM2000.html
5. Doubleday, Jock. Spontaneous Creation: 101 Reasons Not to Have Your Baby In the Hospital (e-book available at spontaneouscreation.org)

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