The risks attached to giving birth in the home, even with a midwife present, are greater than in the hospital, an analysis of U.S. birth records suggests. Babies born at home are 10 times more likely to lack a pulse and be unresponsive when they are five minutes old.
Despite the increase, the overall risk of such a dire condition was low regardless of birth location, researchers report in the October American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Of every 1,000 babies born at home with a midwife attending, 1.6 lacked a pulse and weren’t breathing five minutes after birth, the researchers found. For hospital births with a doctor, the rate was 0.16 per 1,000 infants.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.