Women who deliver outside of a hospital setting are at a near three times greater risk of suffering from birth-related complications and delivering a stillborn baby.
This is according to new research from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Soroka University Medical Centre in Israel, which compared the data of 3 580 women who gave birth at home against around 240 000 women who gave birth at Soroka over a period of 23 years from 1991-2014.
READ MORE: Midwives are critical to birthing process
Factoring in things like ethnicity, the mother’s health status and other health habits, including whether she smokes, the researchers found that women who gave birth at home were at a 2,6 times higher risk of giving birth to a stillborn baby when compared to women who delivered at a hospital.
“This study matches the findings of larger studies conducted in the USA and confirmed our hypothesis that childbirth in non-hospital settings is far more dangerous than in hospitals,” study author Professor Eyal Scheiner was quoted saying in an AFP report.
“Approximately 15 out of every 1 000 babies born in non-hospital settings are at risk of death, compared to only five out of every 1 000 born in hospitals. Tracking both the mother’s and baby’s progress and vital signs in real time as well as immediate access to emergency treatment and operating rooms gives the medical team a far better chance to effectively navigate a difficult birth situation.”
READ MORE: The business of birthing
There’s also the matter of prolonged childbirth, which can become a very dangerous situation if the mother experiences too much bleeding and the baby doesn’t receive enough oxygen.
If a woman loses too much blood during the birthing process, she’s at a high risk of going into hypovolemic shock, which is something that can be treated immediately in a hospital, but not at all during a home birth.