Risk in home births for first-time mothers

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The Independent Online
First-time mothers planning a home birth are at high risk of ending up in hospital because of complications during labour, a study has found. The survey of 6,000 home births during 1994 found 15 per cent of women booked for delivery at home had to be transferred to hospital for delivery but among first-time mothers the proportion rose to 40 per cent. The chief reason was prolonged labour.

Geoffrey Chamberlain, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics at the University of London, who conducted the study, said that 16 per cent of first-time mothers asked for home births but many might be better off in hospital. "Most women who want a home birth feel it will be more satisfying and they will be more in control but they should realise that it may not end up that way."