The new guidelines for birth in the UK have been released and based on recent large studies women with low-risk pregnancies with be advised to opt for a home birth or a midwife-led unit, like a birthing centre.

Studies have found that home births and births in midwife-led units tend to have lower rates of medically unnecessary interventions, so a better recovery for the mother, and the same outcomes for the babies.

In the UK midwives are trained and accredited by the Royal College of Midwives and have consistent education, whereas in other countries it seems more hit and miss because it's not an official medical role and there are limited regulations about home births. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, who represent the OBGYNs of the UK, have no objection to the new guidelines.

There is also the benefit that home births have lower costs, in spite of two midwives being sent to your home to attend the labour. Interventions cost money, unneeded epidurals cost money (for the procedure and because of how they typically lengthen and complicate labour).

As another British commenter said on a previous Jezebel article about home birth,

Here in the UK, where qualified and regulated midwives attend pretty much all home births, we have better outcomes for low-risk mothers than those who give birth in hospital. Fewer caesareans, episiotomies, tears, haemorrhages, postnatal depression and increased satisfaction with the birth and much higher breastfeeding rates, even if the woman ended up transferring into hospital for the actual birth. Just labouring at home with a midwife for at least a small amount of time reduced the risks of intervention quite significantly.

There is a small statistical increase of neonatal morbidity and mortality, but only for first-time mothers. For women having their second or more baby, the outcomes were just as good as hospital stats. So to sum up: home births with qualified midwives result in across-the-board better outcomes for mothers, with only a very small (0.5%) increase of risk to the baby for first-time mothers. The NHS is actually trying to get MORE women to have home births, because they create better outcomes and cost way less money.

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