Are home births safe?

The head of the Royal College of Midwives has criticised the 'calculated campaign' against home births saying that it has scared women into believing they are unsafe

The head of the Royal College of Midwives has criticised the ‘calculated campaign’ against home births saying that it has scared women into believing they are unsafe.

Many women don’t even realise that home birth is a viable option, says Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the organisation.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that whilst many obstetricians and gynaecologists prefer home births, researchers and the media were spreading an anti-home birth message. 

‘They are publishing studies which suggest home birth is not safe and give the impression that hospital birth, on the other hand, is completely safe,’ says Warwick.

She claims that the studies often used unfair comparisons between countries to create more dramatic headlines but that UK midwives are, ‘highly trained, highly competent and very able to relate to obstetricians – who actually support home birth in the UK’.

Just 2.4% of women in the UK opt for a home birth at present, a figure Warwick describes as ‘disappointing’. 

The Royal College of Midwives represents 38,000 midwives in Britain and has been defending its position on home birth since a study in the summer claimed that home birth carried three times the risk that a baby would die. Warwick and her fellow midwives disagree with the study and its findings. 

Marie Claire wants to know what you think. Are home births safe? Would you consider having a baby at home? Or have you had a home birth? Let us know in the comments box below.

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