10. Meta-analysis of the safety of home birth

Olsen O (Department of Social Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.)
Birth, 24(1):4-13; discussion 14-6 1997 Mar

Olsen looked at six controlled studies covering 24,092 mainly low-risk women planning home or hospital births. Outcomes were compared for mortality, morbidity (injury and illness), Apgar scores, maternal lacerations (perineal and vaginal tears etc.), and intervention rates. Perinatal mortality was not significantly different between the planned home and planned hospital groups, but the planned home birth group had fewer low Apgar scores, and fewer severe maternal lacerations. There was less medical intervention in the planned home birth group: fewer inductions, fewer episiotomies, fewer assisted deliveries, and fewer caesareans. Unfortunately, the abstract does not give transfer rates, but these outcomes do compare planned home births with hospital births. Olsen concluded: ‘Home birth is an acceptable alternative to hospital confinement for selected pregnant women, and leads to reduced medical interventions.’ Abstract on Medline

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