Home Birth is it Safe?

Jun 18, 2005 |
Need to Know,  |
Kellie Moeller, CNM |

Safe & Healthy Outcomes

  • Results are consistent with most studies of planned home births and low risk hospital births
  • Zero maternal deaths
  • Intrapartum and neonatal mortality: 2.0 per 1000 intended home births (only 1.7 per 1000 intended
    home births when planned breech and twin births are excluded)
  • Immediate neonatal concerns resulted in just 2.4% of newborns being placed in neonatal intensive
  • At six weeks well over 90% of mothers were still breastfeeding their babies

Low Rates of Medical Intervention

  • Much lower rates of interventions for intended home births compared to low risk hospital births:
    Planned home birth
    Hospital birth
    Induction of labor (only with oxytocin or prostaglandins)
    2.1% *
    Stimulation of labor (only with oxytocin)
    2.7% *
    Electronic fetal monitoring
    Vacuum Extraction
    Cesarean Section
    * These numbers differ from the BMJ article where data for CPMs included forms of induction and stimulation only used by midwives and not comparable to hospital births.

Satisfied Mothers

  • Only 1.7% of the mothers said they would choose a different type of caregiver for a future pregnancy

Few Transfers to Hospital Care

  • Only 12.1% transferred to hospital intrapartum or postpartum
  • Five out of six transfers were before delivery, most for failure to progress, pain relief or exhaustion
  • Midwife considered transfer urgent in only 3.4% of intended home births

High Credibility

  • Included all home births involving Certified Professional Midwives in the year 2000
  • 5,418 women in U.S. and Canada who intended to give birth at home as of the start of labor
  • Prospective - every planned home birth was registered in the study prior to labor and delivery

"Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America."
Kenneth C Johnson and Betty-Anne Daviss. BMJ 2005;330:1416 (18 June). This article and related letters to the
editor are available online, free, at (Use the search feature and type Daviss for the author.)

Article References

Article Author: Kenneth C Johnson and Betty-Anne Daviss
Publisher: British Medical Journal
Original Publish Date: June 18, 2005

Blog Posted: Jun 18, 2005
Posted by: Kellie Moeller, CNM
HomeBirth Experience Inc.
(281) 309-8030

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