Prior to the 1900's giving birth at home was the norm. However, in the 20th century more women began to give birth in hospitals. New research suggests we should thinking about reverting to the old days of giving birth.
According to the Cochrane Review, countries should invest in establishing proper home birth services. Senior researcher, statistician Ole Olsen, of the Research Unit for General Practice, University of Copenhagen, and midwifery lecturer Jette Aaroe Clausen, PhD, believe physicians should provide low-risk women with information regarding home birthing services. This will provide future mothers the chance to make an informed decision.
Researchers found home birthing can be as safe as planned hospital births and have less intervention and fewer complications.
"If home birth is going be an attractive and safe option for most pregnant women, it has to be an integrated part of the health care system," Ole Olsen said. "In several Danish regions the home birth service has been very well organized for several years. This is not the case everywhere in the world."
Olsen and Clausen found women who give birth at home are less likely to experience unnecessary interventions during birth. There are 20 to 60 percent fewer interventions such as cesarean sections or epidurals. Also, there were 10 to 30 percent fewer complications among women giving birth at home. Complications include post-partum bleeding and/or severe perineal tears.
"Patience is important if women want to avoid interference and give birth spontaneously," Clausen said. "At home the temptation to make unnecessary interventions is reduced. The woman avoids for example routine electronic monitoring that may easily lead to further interventions in birth."
The researchers also noted in a few countries home birthing is okay, as long as the woman is assisted by a midwife during birth. Additionally, in some countries, home birthing is incorporated into maternity care.
However, researchers do warn it is not possible to predict with certainty whether there will be no complications during home delivery.
This study was published in the Cochrane Review.