Safety of Homebirth


It can be difficult for even the most dedicated learner to make sense of the conflicting statistics about home birth safety. It is important to remember that each study is funded by someone, and special interest groups commission studies and/or selectively choose data to support their own opinions/agendas on home birth.

–Henci Goer takes a thoughtful look at the recent studies.

–Planned home birth in many places can be as safe as planned hospital birth and with less intervention and fewer complications. (Cochrane Review Update, 2012)

–Low risk women in North America who planned deliveries at home with a skilled care provider showed a degree of safety similar to that of low-risk hospital births. (Johnson and Daviss 2005)

–A study in California compared planned home and hospital births with similar low-risk characteristics and found the home-birth cohort to have comparable or better outcomes (Schlenzka 1999)

–Columbia University Researchers found home birth safe for mother and infant if the birth attendant is qualified and there is provision for hospital transport in case of emergency (Murphy & Fullerton, 1998)

–A retrospective study of more than 40,000 deliveries in Washington state showed that neonatal mortality rates were identical for licensed midwives, physicians, and nurse midwives, for both home and hospital births.  (Janssen, Holt, &Myers, 1994)


No study has ever shown that birth outside of hospital resulted in worse outcomes as long as the women were low risk and were planning an out -of-hospital birth, with a trained attendant.  The largest study is reported in the British Medical Journal in June 2005.  It showed that planned home birth, attended by a trained midwife, offered the same risks as a hospital birth, with a much lower rate of medical interventions.

All of our midwives and assistants are certified in CPR and NRP, the same trainings required for hospital attendants in helping newborns breathe.  We all have attended additional trainings in birth emergencies, and practice drills regularly.