Scientists see hardly any risks with home births

Scientists see hardly any risks with home births

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Controversial home births: Researchers see little risk
New study: Home births in low-risk pregnancies are usually safe
Women who give birth to their child at home are sometimes held up by others to act irresponsibly. Others say that pregnancy "is not a disease" and does not have to be carried out in a clinic. Health experts point out that certain risks can arise. In a new study, researchers found that in many cases it is safe to give birth to your child at home.

Long argument about the pros and cons of home births
In Germany and most other western countries, the majority of children are born in a hospital. However, many pregnant women prefer to give birth to their baby in a birthing center or at home. After all, pregnancy is "something natural and not a disease". Some people criticize this and refer to health hazards that can occur. The pros and cons of home births have been debated for a long time. According to experts, home births are just as safe as deliveries in clinics if the course of pregnancy is normal. Study results from scientists from Canada are now strengthening the position of those who are in favor of being born outside a hospital.

Home births for low-risk pregnancies
According to the Canadian researchers in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), home births are safe in low-risk pregnancies. According to the study, for which data from the province of Ontario were evaluated, this applies both to mothers who give birth to their first child and to those who gave birth to children before. The scientists reported that the risk of planned hospital births was “not significantly” different from planned home births. In a message from the dpa news agency, the results from Canada are rated very differently by a obstetrician and a midwife from Germany.

Two percent of babies are born through home birth
According to the information, less than two percent of children are born by birth in Germany. This proportion has been relatively constant for years. On the other side of the Atlantic, the rate is apparently comparable: The research team led by Eileen Hutton from McMaster University in Hamilton reports that in Ontario around every tenth birth is accompanied by midwives, about a fifth of whom are home births. By 2009, midwives in Ontario had to document their work and present it to the provincial health ministry in the southeast of the country. Scientists have now analyzed almost 11,500 reports on planned home births from 2006 to 2009 and compared them with the same number of planned deliveries in hospitals. The researchers paid attention to stillbirths, infant deaths in the first four weeks of life and complications such as resuscitation measures. However, pregnancies with an increased risk were excluded from the analysis. Among other things, mothers with previous illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes were counted. And also multiple pregnancies, pregnancy complications or a birth before the 37th week of pregnancy.

Three quarters of the women implemented planned home births
According to the results of the study, 75 percent of women who had planned a home birth without an increased risk ultimately implemented their project. One in four women switched to a hospital at short notice. 97 percent of those who wanted to go to a clinic did so. Around a third of pregnant women (35 percent) gave birth to a child for the first time. According to the researchers, the incidence of deaths among home births was 1.15 per 1,000, compared to 0.94 in hospitals. No death was known to the mothers.

German expert is critical
"Among women who wanted to give birth to their child in Ontario at home with midwives, the risk of stillbirth, infant death or severe birth complications was no different from the women who chose hospital birth with midwives," the researchers report aloud dpa. "These results were true for the entire group as well as for the subgroups of firstborns and mothers who had given birth to children before." Criticism of the study comes from Germany, among others. The doctor Birgit Seelbach-Göbel, head of obstetrics at the University Clinic Regensburg, sees a distortion of the result due to the study design. In the end, one in four of the women in the home birth were brought to a clinic for giving birth at short notice, and it was even 45 percent among the first women. However, these results were still counted among the home births. "That falsifies the result." According to the Vice President of the German Society for Gynecology and Obstetrics, about one in six women in Germany who is planning a home birth will ultimately be transferred to a clinic, with around 30 percent of women giving birth.

Safety of mother and child
However, Katharina Jeschke from the German Midwifery Association said the Canadian study confirmed data from Germany. The chairwoman of the Society for Quality in Out-of-Clinical Obstetrics said: “With a good medical history, the safety of mother and child in home births and hospital deliveries is the same. That clearly emerges from the study and also from German data. ”According to the expert, if women who are planning to give birth at home are still taken to a clinic, this is usually not due to a medical emergency. Only 1.3 percent of the short-term transfers to a clinic in 2013 were carried out in a hurry. (ad)

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