Home Birth Reference Site

Index of Research on Home Birth

I have tried to put the main findings of the research listed here in plain English. Each summary of a research paper includes a link to its abstract on Medline, the international database of medical research, or to the full study in an online medical journal, where either is available. This is so that you can check the original report for yourself, rather than relying on my summary.

The research summaries are presented as five long pages, to make printing easy.

How do we know which studies are fair? The notes on methodology offer some pointers. Some critics of homebirth safety feel that much of the research on homebirth is biased in its favour, and so I intend during 2007 to give more detailed critiques of the studies listed here. I do not believe that homebirth advocates need to rely on substandard research; it is important that women can feel confident in the studies they use to inform their choices.

Page One:

  1. National Birthday Trust Report By Chamberlain et al, 1997 - enquiry into UK home births in 1994.
  2. Birth at home By Chamberlain, Wraight and Crowley, 1997.

Page Two:

  1. British Medical Journal editorial on home births, 23 November 1996
  2. Outcome of planned home and planned hospital births in low risk pregnancies: prospective study in midwifery practices in the Netherlands By Wiegers, Keirse, van der Zee and Berghs, 1996
  3. Prospective regional study of planned home births By Davies et al, 1996 (Interesting data on transfers to hospital)
  4. Home versus hospital deliveries: follow up study of matched pairs By Ackermann-Liebrich et al, 1996
  5. Collaborative survey of perinatal loss in planned and unplanned home births Northern Region Perinatal Mortality Survey Coordinating Group, 1996
  6. Perinatal deaths associated with planned home birth in Australia By Bastian et al, 1998
  7. Home births in South-West Australia By Howe, 1988
  8. A matched cohort study of planned home and hospital births in Western Australia 1981-1987 By Woodcock et al.
  9. Home Birth in New Zealand, 1973-1993 By Gulbransen et al.

Page Three:

  1. Place of delivery: a review, by Campbell et al, 1986
  2. Home births in England and Wales, 1979, by Campbell et al, 1984
  3. The Safety of Home Birth: The Farm Study by A. Mark Durand, MD, MPH, 1992
  4. Five year prospective study of risk of booking for a home birth in Essex by JM Shearer, 1985
  5. Licensed midwife-attended, out-of-hospital births in Washington State: are they safe? By Janssen et al, 1994
  6. Outcomes of 1001 midwife-attended home births in Toronto, 1983-1988 by H Tyson, 1991
  7. Outcomes of planned home births in an inner-city practice By Ford et al, 1991
  8. Birth setting for low-risk pregnancies By Albers and Katz, 1991
  9. Outcomes of intended home births in nurse-midwifery practice By Murphy and Fullerton, 1998
  10. Meta-analysis of the safety of home birth By Olsen, 1997
  11. Outcomes of 11,788 planned home births attended by certified nurse-midwives. A retrospective descriptive study By Anderson and Murphy, 1995.

Page Four: Controversies

  1. Data on babies' safety during hospital births are being ignored - Drife, 1999.
  2. Do obstetric intranatal interventions make birth safer? - Tew, 1986
  3. Are hospital confinements really more dangerous for the fetus? - Golding and Peters, 1988
  4. Home versus hospital birth - Cochrane Database Review - Olsen and Jewell, 2000

Page Five: Odds and Ends

  1. Simulated home delivery in hospital - a randomised, controlled trial By MacVicar et al., 1993
  2. The Cost-Effectiveness of Home Birth By Anderson and Anderson, 1999
  3. Physician- and midwife-attended home births: effect of breech, twin and post-dates outcome on mortality rates. By Mehl-Madrona and Madrona, 1997
  4. Home Delivery and Scientific Reasoning By Olsen, 1994
  5. Perineal outcomes in a home birth setting By Aikins Murphy and Feinlan, 1998
  6. Blues and depression during early puerperium: home versus hospital deliveries By Pop et al, 1995.
  7. Home birth and hospital deliveries: a comparison of the perceived painfulness of parturition By Morse and Park, 1988.
  8. Babies born before arrival at hospital, by Bhoopalam and Watkinson, 1991

Page Six: Transferring from a Home Birth

This page looks at studies which reported on mothers who planned home births but transferred to hospital. Some of the studies are discussed on other pages, as noted below; this page focusses only on their findings regarding transfers.

  1. Transfer from home to hospital: what is its effect on the experience of childbirth? By Wiegers et al, 1998.
  2. Place of delivery in The Netherlands: actual location of confinement By Kleiverda et al, 1991.
  3. Four years' experience with home birth by licensed midwives in Arizona. By Sullivan and Beeman, 1983
  4. National Birthday Trust Report, also featured on Page One.
  5. Blues and depression during early puerperium: home versus hospital deliveries By Pop et al, 1995. Study also featured on Page One but transfer rates only mentioned here.
  6. Home births in South-West Australia By Howe, 1988, also featured on Page Two.
  7. Prospective regional study of planned home births By Davies et al, 1996, also featured on Page Two.
  8. Outcomes of 1001 midwife-attended home births in Toronto, 1983-1988 by H Tyson, 1991, also featured on Page Three.

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean

For research on Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC), please see the VBAC Pages.

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