“In a publicly financed health care system it should not be necessary for women to purchase private support in order to have a positive birth experience. If the choice of place of birth is legally up to the woman, the health care system should have the resources to accommodate this wish.” (Nygaard & Kesmodel 2018).
That’s one of the conclusions of an editorial in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, in which Siv Steffen Nygaard and Ulrik Schiøler Kesmodel discuss why home births are gaining in popularity in some countries, look at the evidence of safety (and why this is so hard to gather, given the current focus on over-valuing evidence from randomised controlled trials) and how professional background influences the debate.
The authors acknowledge that it isn’t just about place:
“Some studies point toward the comfort of having a known midwife present during the entire course of birth, of giving birth in a “homely” environment, and having more control and decision‐making power throughout the process as important to many women. The positive effect of continuous care has previously been well established in the scientific literature, showing that women who had continuous support during childbirth were more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth and shorter labour, and less likely to have intrapartum analgesia, cesarean section and instrumental vaginal birth.” (Nygaard & Kesmodel 2018).
If you’re interested in reading more, the full article is available here.
If you’re interested in home birth, we have a whole page of resources looking at the evidence and sharing resources!