The practice of giving birth at home is very common in poor countries, but the new study of Oregon births state that the practice comes with a slight increased risk of death to the baby in the United States but a lower likelihood of a C-section. Though, the rate is very low in the United States with less than 1% of women gave birth at home in 2012, the rate of home births have been on rise with hard to assess the safety of the practice. As per the latest study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found about two deaths per 1,000 births among planned hospital births compared to four deaths per 1,000 births planned at home or in birthing centers.
Jonathan Snowden, an epidemiologist at Oregon Health and Science University, and the team studied nearly 80,000 low-risk births in Oregon during 2012 and 2013. He said “Absolute risk of death is low in all settings — less than half of a percent. ... And in terms of that added risk, we see how someone weighs that as a personal choice”. The study found different kinds of birth to those women who planned to give birth outside of the hospital. On the other hand, a quarter of births that were planned had C-sections that can result in serious complications to future pregnancies. Researchers found five times increased risk to those who planned to give birth outside the hospital. They even found increase in some complications like seizures and low Apgar scores to those who planned out-of-hospital births.
Melissa Cheyney, a practicing midwife in Oregon and a medical anthropologist, said the importance of this study is that it gives mothers some numbers. Michael Greene and Jeffrey Eckler, obstetricians from Massachusetts General Hospital, discussed on the topic that why women may consider an out-of-hospital birth in a separate editorial. Aaron Caughey, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health and Science University, said the study excluded complicated births, including those not at full term, twins, and fetuses with abnormalities.
Caughey said the study could act as an advice for hospital providers to be aware of the differences between two types of births. Also, it would help women to select what is right choice for them.