New information suggests that home births are a realistic and safe option, with less complications and intervention than hospital births.

A new Cochrane Library review revealed that all countries should think about setting up proper home birth services. Low-risk pregnant women should be provided accurate information to make an informed decision about which type of birth they prefer.

In order to have home birth an appealing and safe option for all women, it should be organized as part of the healthcare system. As stated in earlier research, it would be imperative for midwives to be thoroughly trained.

In the case of low-risk pregnant women, previous research has no strong evidence to support or disfavor home birth over hospital birth. This is true, assuming that home birth is planned with an experienced midwife available and with medical back up ready, in the event that a transport is needed.

Women who give birth at home have a higher likelihood of spontaneous labor. This is because schedules and easy access to medical care can cause unnecessary medical interventions. There have been 20-60 percent fewer interventions, including cesarean sections, augmentation, and epidurals among planned home births. There is also 10-30 percent fewer complications, such as post partum bleeding and perineal tears.

Midwifery lecturer PhD Jette Aaroe Clausen says:

“Patience is important if women want to avoid interference and give birth spontaneously. At home the temptation to make unnecessary interventions is reduced. The woman avoids for example routine electronic monitoring that may easily lead to further interventions in birth.”

Medical interventions are common in childbirth, but are starting to become a concern. Interventions can lead to other unintended results. For example, routine electronic monitoring can cause more women to have artificial rupture of membranes, which can result in even more complications.

This particular review was based on scientific studies, human rights and ethics. A court ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasborg, in the case of Ternovszky versus Hungary, a judgement said “the right to respect for private life includes the right to choose the circumstances of birth,” which was also used in this review.

Written by Kelly Fitzgerald