"In 2009, 294,540 women gave birth to 299,220 babies in Australia. There were 285,460 women who gave birth in hospitals, 6,396 women gave birth in birth centres and 863 planned homebirths. There were 2,339 fetal deaths in hospital and other facilities. There were 2 fetal deaths at homebirths. Of babies born at home in 2009, 99.8% were liveborn. There were no maternal deaths at planned homebirths in 2009." (From here)
Joyous Birth, an Australian homebirth network have published a webpage Homebirth Realities & Research (Joyous Birth) which takes a look at the major medical studies of homebirth. Before considering the research about homebirth the Joyous Birth site states:
Another excellent source on the safety of homebirth was a page put together by an Australian Independent Midwive, Wendy Buckland; The Safety of Homebirth (Birthing.net.au). Buckland's site stated:
It is not for anyone but the birthing woman to decide where, how and with whom she wants to birth.We need to stand up not only for our own choices, but for the choices of all women.Read about women discussing the issue of choice on the forums here and here. Remember that you have the final say in what happens to your body as after all, it is your body, and you own the ultimate rights to it.
It is important to be aware of attempts to distort home birth research findings in attempts to hang on to the untenable position that home birth is dangerous. Several years ago on the Australian television program 'Lateline' Dr Brunello attempted to defend his anti-homebirth position by giving data from research in South Australia which he claimed suggested homebirth has higher perinatal mortality. He must not be a scientist as he was apparently unaware that the findings of this particular study are suspect for a number of reasons including: far too small a sample size, no matched control group and no data linkage to find lost cases. The authors themselves conclude: "Close examination of the individual deaths led to the conclusion that the majority could not directly be attributed to the place of birth." - Marsden Wagner, former WHO Maternal & Child Health expert.An absolutely excellent read is this blog article on Feminism and birth in Australia: moving from stat-wrangling towards a reproductive choice perspective where the author points out "There were 2,091 stillbirths in Australian in 2006. 2,091 of these occurred in hospitals or birth centres. None occurred at home."
Every woman, and every baby, and every family deserve a Joyous Birth!
The Safety of Home Birth…..the medical literature. Home birth can be a safe option for 90% of mothers, with appropriate prenatal care and attendant personnel. It makes both financial sense and medical sense for state laws to permit home birth attended by midwives, for insurers to reimburse for home delivery, and for hospitals and obstetricians to provide medical back-up. Obstetricians need to take their blinders off and learn to cooperate with folks who want to deliver in their own homes.The site went on to list over 30 studies of homebirth. Unfortunately her original site is no longer online, however she generously shared this information and you can still read it in full in this Facebook note on the Ilithyia Inspired Facebook page.
There is more on The Home Birth Reference Site, which was put together by homebirth.org.uk and this article by Henci Goer.
ETA: Recently 2 homebirth programs run by hospitals in Victoria have found homebirth to be very safe, with an Obstetrician calling for more programs reaching further across Australia, see here: Call for wider availability of home birthing in Victoria