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GIVING birth at home with a midwife is as safe as ­having the baby in hospital ... as long as the mum-to-be is healthy there is no need to be in hospital, it found.

The study of more than 12,000 births showed women who had a planned home birth are less likely to run into serious problems ­during labour.

They also have a lower risk of needing ­epidural pain relief, forceps delivery or a ­Caesarean

The rate of deaths was about two per 1,000 for planned home births with midwives or deliveries in hospitals involving either midwives or doctors, the researchers found.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448