What does the evidence say about
midwifery care and out-of-hospital birth in
Since the dawn of time, midwives have helped other women during the childbearing process. Today in many developed countries, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Sweden to name a few, the midwife remains the safe guardian of birth. In fact, in these countries, where midwives attend more than 70% of all births, statistics reveal the best outcomes for moms and babies. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared in 1990 that birth was safest, when utilizing midwifery care for pregnancy and childbirth.
In the United States, where midwives attend only 8-10% of births, we rank sorely low in neonatal and perinatal mortality compared to those countries where midwives are the primary caregivers for childbearing women.
A study published in the June 18, 2005 edition of the British Medical Journal found that for low-risk women in the United States, planned home births are as safe as hospital births, and accomplished with much less medical intervention, compared with low-risk hospital births. According to the British Medical Journal press release, they found:
“Rates of medical intervention, such as epidural, forceps and caesarean section, were lower for planned home births than for low-risk hospital births.”