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The results of the study showed that women who gave birth at home attended by a midwife had fewer procedures during labor compared with women who gave birth in a hospital attended by a physician. The study also suggests that home births have a lower incidence of infection and use of drugs for pain. Additionally, women in the home birth group were less likely to have epidural analgesia, have their labor induced, or have an episiotomy.

In as far as the overall safety of home births, the researchers concluded that the number of deaths was similar to that found in other studies and the difference in death rate between the two groups was too small to be statistically important. The conclusions of the researchers as published in the journal were as follows: “Interpretation: There was no increased maternal or neonatal risk associated with planned home birth under the care of a regulated midwife. The rates of some adverse outcomes were too low for us to draw statistical comparisons, and ongoing evaluation of home birth is warranted. There was no increased maternal or neonatal risk associated with planned home birth under the care of a regulated midwife,” the authors wrote.

In a commentary article in the same issue, Rgis Blais, MD, from the Universit de Montral, agrees that this “study provides valuable information about the safety of home birth that should help expectant parents make their choice of place of birth and caregiver.”