Is Birth in a Birth Center or at home safe?
Birth in a Birth Center or at home is a safe option for the majority of women. Today, many people recognize the benefits and safety of out-of-hospital birth with midwifery care and choose a midwife for their primary care during pregnancy. Birth at home or in a birth center with a Midwife has been proven to be as safe as birthing in the hospital, but with fewer interventions and more satisfying experiences.

Countless studies have been done throughout the world that have proven the safety of out of hospital birth. In 1998 the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University concluded a study that found: homebirth can be accomplished with good outcomes as long as there is a qualified practitioner (midwives) in attendance at the birth along with a system in place for transporting the mother if she needs to go to the hospital. (1)

The World Health Organization recognizes homebirth with a trained attendant (midwife) and hospital back-up as a good option for low risk women. (2)

June 18, 2005 a study was released that compared the outcomes of 5,000 women planning homebirth with a midwife to low-risk hospital births and found that the outcomes of planned homebirth were as good as hospital outcomes, but with fewer interventions and greater satisfaction. (3)

Normally, birth is uncomplicated and does not require any intervention. The national rate of transfer from a planned homebirth or birth center birth to the hospital is less than 15%. This means that 85%-90% of planned home or birth center births occur as planned without complications. The national cesarean rate for Certified Professional Midwives is about 5%. The health of the mother, comprehensive prenatal visits, risk screening, referral and/or transfer to the hospital when appropriate, continuous support and care during labor and birth is what makes birthing at home and in a birth center safe.

(1) "Outcomes of intended home births in nurse-midwifery practice: a prospective descriptive study." By Murphy PA, Fullerton J. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA. pam15@columbia.edu
(2) World Health Organization's Care in Normal Birth: GENERAL ASPECTS OF CARE IN LABOUR WHO/FRH/MSM/96.24
(3) "Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America." Kenneth C Johnson, senior epidemiologist, Betty-Anne Daviss, project manager. BMJ 2005;330:1416 (18 June).The BMJ has published the paper on-line.

© 2010 Birthways Family Birth Center, Sarasota, FL