Low-risk births don’t need hospital

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A new study in England shows little difference in complications among the babies of women with low-risk pregnancies who delivered in hospitals versus those who gave birth with midwives at home or in birthing centers.

... home births are advisable only when there are low risk factors. If the patient has ... [medical] conditions, is about to deliver twins, or has high blood pressure or hypertension, home births aren’t recommended ...

“Home birth can be just as safe as hospital birth if people are providing it to the correct patient appropriately,” ...

... “Birth isn’t an abnormal process, it’s a physiological process,” he said. “And if your pregnancy and labor is not complicated, then you don’t need a high level of specific expertise.” ... about 50 percent of pregnant women in England — those who are low-risk — should be able to choose where to have their baby.

More than 90 percent of pregnant women in England now give birth in a hospital. Some officials say the new study should prompt women to consider alternatives.

... midwife-run birth centers in England have a more homelike environment, with privacy, sofas and birthing pools.

In Britain, midwives deliver more than 60 percent of babies already. Similar care is provided in the Netherlands, where about a quarter of all births happen at home ...

... researchers found a higher risk for first-time mothers planning a home birth. Among those women, there were 9.3 adverse events per 1,000 births, including babies with brain damage due to labor problems and stillbirth. That compared to 5.3 adverse events per 1,000 births for those planning a hospital birth ...

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