Is home birth as safe as hospital birth?

Is home birth as safe as hospital birth?

By Kristelle Bechayda

Lately, it seems like home birth is becoming a preferred option for a lot of pregnant moms. In the United States, there has been a 77 percent increase in the cases of home birth between the period of 2004 to 2017, and the Philippines isn’t far behind.

In fact, it wasn’t long ago when former actress Rica Peralejo chose to welcome her second son in the comforts of her own home, with the assistance of a birthing team, of course.

“I believe that I can give birth at home with the option of running to the hospital if everything goes haywire,” Rica told Moms & Babies in a previous interview, “I am not closed to the idea of still giving birth in the hospital, but I really want to try to go through labor at home for as long as I can. I feel safer and undisturbed in a familiar setting.”

A lot of concerns may stem from this out-of-the hospital option, with infant mortality being one of them. But a recent international study led by McMaster University’s Midwifery Education Program in Ontario, U.S. showed that home births are actually just as safe as hospital births for women with low-risk pregnancies.

“More women in well-resourced countries are choosing birth at home, but concerns have persisted about their safety,” says Eileen Hutton, professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology at McMaster and also the paper’s first author.

No difference in both safety and risk

The study was done by compiling 21 home birth studies that were conducted between 1990 and 2018 in Sweden, New Zealand, England, Netherlands, Japan, Australia, U.S. and Canada. Then the safety of the birth place was examined by taking note of the risk of death during the time of birth or within the first four weeks.

In comparing the results of about 500,000 intended home births to about the same number that occurred in hospitals, the team found no difference in the clinical and statistical risk between both home and hospital groups.

“Our research provides much-needed information to policy makers, care providers and women and their families when planning for birth.” Hutton added.