Home Births Best For Mothers - NICE

More women are being urged to give birth at home or at midwife-led units rather than traditional labour wards.

In updated guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) evidence shows that midwife-led care is safer than hospital care for women having a straightforward, low risk, pregnancy.

This is because the rate of interventions, such as the use of forceps or an epidural, is lower and the outcome for the baby is no different compared with an obstetric unit.

Mid-wife led units can be based at hospital sites next to obstetric units or freestanding and based away from a hospital site.

The guidance recommends that home births are also equally as safe as a midwife-led unit and traditional labour ward for the babies of low risk pregnant women, except for first-time mothers.

In a midwifery unit or a hospital, a baby born with a serious medical complication might occur in five out of every 1,000 births, but this rises to nine in every 1,000 for home births, for first-time mothers.

Professor Mark Baker, NICE’s clinical practice director, said: "Where and how a woman gives birth to her baby can be hugely important to her. Although women with complicated pregnancies will still need a doctor, there is no reason why women at low risk of complications during labour should not have their baby in an environment in which they feel most comfortable.

"Our updated guideline will encourage greater choice in these decisions and ensure the best outcomes for both mother and baby."


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