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Homebirth Facts

The largest study of homebirths attended by Certified Professional Midwives, as published in the British Medical Journal, has found that homebirth is safe for low risk women and involves far fewer interventions than similar births in hospitals.

Safe and healthy outcomes

Results of this study are consistent with most studies of planned homebirths attended by Certified Professional Midwives and low risk hospital births.

  • Zero maternal deaths
  • Intrapartum and neonatal mortality: 2.0 per 1000 intended homebirths (only 1.7 per 1000 intended homebirths when planned; breech and twins are excluded)
  • Immediate neonatal concerns resulted in just 2.4% of newborns being placed in neonatal intensive care
  • At six weeks, well over 90% of mothers were still breastfeeding their babies

Low rates of medical intervention

Much lower rates of interventions for intended homebirths compared to low risk hospital births.

Type of Intervention Planned Homebirth Hospital Birth
Induction of labor with oxytocin or prostaglandins 2.1% 21%
Stimulation of labor with oxytocin 2.7% 18.9%
Electronic fetal monitoring 9.6% 84.3%
Episiotomy 2.1% 33%
Vacume extraction 0.6% 5.5%
Cesarean Section 3.7% 19.0%

* These numbers differ from the BMJ article where data for CPM's included forms of induction and stimulation only used by midwives and not comparable to hospital births.

Satisfied mothers

Only 1.7% of the mothers who had a homebirth said they would choose a different type of caregiver for a future pregnancy.

Few transfers to hospital care

  • Only 12.1% transferred to hospital intrapartum or postpartum
  • Five out of six transfers were before delivery, most for failure to progress, pain relief or exhaustion
  • Midwife considered transfer urgent in only 3.4% of intended home births

High credibility

  • This study included all home births involving Certified Professional Midwives in the year 2000
  • 5,418 women in the U.S. and Canada who intended to give birth at home as of the start of labor
  • Prospective. Every planned home birth was registered in the study prior to labor and delivery

Outcomes of planned home birth with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America.”Kenneth C Johnson and Betty-Anne Daviss. BMJ 2005;330;1416 (18 June). This article and related letters to the editor are available online, free, at

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