Let's Be Real: How Safe Are Home Births?

| Pregnancy & Parenting

Cushy pillows, scented candles, a shower at arm’s length—there’s no question why more women (60 percent more, between 2008 and 2012, in fact) are choosing to give birth at home or a birthing center over a hospital. It’s comfy, it’s chill, and there aren’t any fluorescent lights. But is it safe? Women's Health has the answer below.

home birth

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has some answers. After analyzing close to 80,000 pregnancies in Oregon, researchers found that the chances of a baby dying during delivery or during his or her first month of life (while still rare) was 2.4 times higher in women who gave birth at home or a birthing center, compared to a hospital. Those out-of-hospital deliveries were also tied to a greater risk for neonatal seizures, lower Apgar scores (it’s a quick test in the minutes post-birth that reveals how the baby is doing outside of the womb), and increased odds for the mother to need a blood transfusion.

>> Read more: Home Birth: Is It For You?

On the flip side, women who chose to deliver at home or at a birthing center were much less likely to have a cesarean section (5.3 percent, compared to 24.7 percent in a hospital) and had fewer interventions like induced or augmented labor.

To read more about the study and its findings, click here to read the original article from Women's Health.