Midwifery has recently published an article by Scarf et al. (2018) comparing maternal and perinatal outcomes in different birth settings amongst low-risk pregnancies. This study is the first of its kind whereby it provides a systematic review of high quality research (28 articles in total), critically appraises identified studies, conducts a meta-analysis of the data and synthesises findings from studies across birth outcomes from hospitals, birth centres and home births. The key findings from this research are:
– Infant mortality is unaffected by planned place of birth
– Women planning hospital births are significantly less likely to have a normal vaginal birth than women planning to birth at a birth centre or at home.
– Home birthing women experience less severe perineal trauma or haemorrhage than women who birth in obstetric units.
The authors conclude that based on the high-quality evidence from low-risk pregnancies, place of birth does not impact infant mortality, and births occurring at birth centres and home result in lower rates of maternal morbidity and obstetric intervention. These findings support the expansion of birth centre and home birth options for women with low-risk pregnancies.
Check out the article HERE