Healthcare News & Insights

Study: At-home births are riskier for first-time moms

A new study indicates that providing a variety of birth options can work — but for some women, at-home births do increase the risk of a poor outcome.

The study, published recently in BMJ, looked at more than 64,000 women pregnant with a single child, who gave birth between April 2008 and April 2010.

For the purposes of the study, planned C-section births, C-sections before the onset of labor and unplanned home births weren’t included. The study compared the location of the birth (at home, a midwifery unit, a hospital, etc.) to see the number of medical interventions needed, as well as outcomes for the mother and child.

Overall, there were no significant differences and all types of birth options were relatively safe. But fewer interventions were done during births that took place outside of an obstetric unit. The mother’s medical history also made a difference: Women giving birth for the first time had a statistically significant jump in poor post-birth outcomes.

However, the study’s authors said a variety of birth environments should still be offered to women with low-risk pregnancies.


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