Midwives warn of home births 'backlash'

By Jon Smith,Pa
Wednesday 29 December 2010 09:07

The Royal College of Midwives has warned of a "calculated and concerted backlash" against home births, saying some doctors are too prone to refer women automatically for a hospital delivery.

RCM general secretary Cathy Warwick spoke of the backlash in her New Year message and said she was referring to studies which gave a misleading impression of the relative safety of home and hospital births.

She told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We are referring mainly to researchers from across the world who seem to be collaborating with the media, publishing studies which suggest home birth is not safe and give the impression that hospital birth, on the other hand, is completely safe.

"We believe people are comparing apples with pears. You cannot compare home birth globally and reach scientific conclusions.

"Midwives in the UK are highly trained, highly competent and able to relate to obstetricians, who actually support home birth in the UK."

She said only 2.4% of women in the UK gave birth at home, and added: "The reason that most women need to transfer into hospital, having chosen to have a home birth, is because of complications which are not emergencies, and they are able to transfer to hospital safely and efficiently."

Ms Warwick said it was important that the right women were selected for home birth but, asked if doctors were too keen automatically to refer women for a hospital delivery, she replied: "I think some doctors are too prone to do that. There are a few doctors who just seem to be unprepared to accept the evidence."

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