Western Australia 'in denial' over home-birth risks

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WEST Australian health officials are in denial over the risks associated with home births, according to the Australian Medical Association.

It was responding to a leaked report showing the death rate among babies born at home is almost four times higher than those delivered in hospital.

... A departmental draft report leaked to the AMA reveals the risk of babies dying because of a lack of oxygen to the brain was 33 times higher in home births than in hospital deliveries.

Compiled by the department's perinatal and infant mortality committee, the report recommends against home births because of the risks.

The committee said that if the government's Community Midwifery Program continued, it needed to implement 24 recommendations from a 2009 review aimed at improving safety.

The report examined 458 home births between 2005 and 2007 and found that seven babies born at home died. During the same period in WA, more than 80,000 women delivered babies in hospital. The report found that the mortality rate of 7.81 per thousand among home births deliveries compared unfavourably with the death rate of hospital births, which was 2.03 per thousand.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448