Home birth

Home birth is available to women experiencing a low-risk pregnancy (according to the World Health Organisation this is 90% of the population).

The HomeBirth Ireland  website offers support and information for those considering or planning a home birth. 

RCOG and Royal College of Midwives joint statement No.2

Date published: 01/04/2007

Summary: The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) support home birth for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families. There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman’s likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby.

See full statement here

Safety of Home Birth – A Dutch Study: BJOG

Perinatal mortality and morbidity in a nationwide cohort of 529 688 low-risk planned home and hospital births

A de Jonge a , BY van der Goes b , ACJ Ravelli c , MP Amelink-Verburg a,d , BW Mol b , JG Nijhuis e , J Bennebroek Gravenhorst a , SE Buitendijk a

BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Published Online: 15 Apr 2009

Journal compilation © RCOG 2009 BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

“Conclusions: This study shows that planning a home birth does not increase the risks of perinatal mortality and severe perinatal morbidity among low-risk women, provided the maternity care system facilitates this choice through the availability of well-trained midwives and through a good transportation and referral system.”

Access study here.

See commentary on this study by BJOG and RCOG here.

Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America

Kenneth C Johnson and Betty-Anne Daviss

BMJ 2005; 330 : 1416 doi: 10.1136/bmj.330.7505.1416 (Published 16 June 2005)

Conclusions: Planned home birth for low risk women in North America using certified professional midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention but similar intrapartum and neonatal mortality to that of low risk hospital births in the United States.

Access study here.

Outcomes of intended home births in nurse-midwifery practice: a prospective descriptive study

Murphy PA, Fullerton J.

Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Sep;92(3):461-70.

Conclusion: Home birth can be accomplished with good outcomes under the care of qualified practitioners and within a system that facilitates transfer to hospital care when necessary. Intrapartal mortality during intended home birth is concentrated in postdates pregnancies with evidence of meconium passage.

Access study here.

Meta-analysis of the safety of home birth

Olsen O.

Birth. 1997 Mar;24(1):4-13; discussion 14-6.

Conclusion: Home birth is an acceptable alternative to hospital confinement for selected pregnant women, and leads to reduced medical interventions.

Access study here: