The Farm Study

3. The Safety of Home Birth: The Farm Study

by A. Mark Durand, MD, MPH,
Published in Am J Public Health, 1992;82:450-452 

Data from an alternative community where home birth is the norm. The Farm has now become famous for midwifery, and is the home of Ina Mae Gaskin, author of ‘Spiritual Midwifery’.’Pregnancy outcomes of 1707 women, who enrolled for care between 1971 and 1989 with a home birth service run by lay midwives in rural Tennessee, were compared with outcomes from 14,033 physician- attended hospital deliveries derived from the 1980 US National Natality/National Fetal Mortality Survey. Based on rates of perinatal death, of low 5-minute Apgar scores, of a composite index of labor complications, and of use of assisted delivery, the results suggest that, under certain circumstances, home births attended by lay midwives can be accomplished as safely as, and with less intervention than, physician-attended hospital deliveries.’

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