I have just read this article written by Jo Marchant in The Guardian about the benefits of independant midwives and home births.
An abstract from the article – Let’s look at the death rate first. Randomised trials comparing planned home and hospital births are almost impossible to do, but observational studies suggest that for low-risk women at least, home birth is just as safe: for example a meta-analysis of 24,000 women published in 1997 found the same death rate (0.87%) in both groups. A 2011 study of 64,000 UK women, which included serious injuries as well as deaths, did find that home birth was slightly more dangerous for first-time mums (0.93% vs 0.53%), though for women who’d had children before, the risk was the same.
There are few data on the safety of home birth for complicated pregnancies as so few women attempt it. In my case, the concern was that my c-section scar might rupture during labour. One big meta-analysis of trials done in hospital suggests this happens in around 0.4% of cases, while a more recent UK trial found an overall rate of 0.2%. My risk would be lower than the average, because I had only one previous c-section and a fair gap between pregnancies. Even if I did suffer a rupture, warning signs would probably give me time to get to hospital – a 10-minute drive away. But let’s be clear, there was a chance (perhaps an extra 0.1% or so) that by giving birth at home I could lose my baby.
To read more of the article by Jo Marchant click