Is Homebirth Really the Safer Option?

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that evidence now shows 45% of women have a low risk of developing complications during their pregnancy.

As such, the Institute now believes expectant mothers should be encouraged to give birth at midwife-led units rather than traditional labour wards as midwife-led care is safer than hospital care for women having a straightforward, low risk, pregnancy.

Homebirths can be just as safe as a traditional labour ward

Recommendations

The guidance also recommends that home births are equally as safe as a midwife-led unit and traditional labour wards for the babies of low risk pregnant women, except for first time mothers. This is nothing new as numerous past studies have shown that home birth is safe for most women.

Safety First

Certainly, there’s a place for modern medicine, as in rare cases it can save lives. However, it has been advocated for a number of years that homebirth can be a safer option than a hospital delivery for low-risk women. Women who give birth under midwife-led care have less chance of being asked to undergo medical interventions such as episiotomies, caesareans, the use of forceps or ventouse and the risk of infection is reduced.

There may also be an economic benefit to the NHS encouraging midwife–led/home deliveries as it is less costly.

The updated guidance also offers new advice in relation to general practices such as cord-clamping and co-sleeping, both from the point of view of safety to babies.


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