The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), which considers itself an authority on childbirth safety, recently came out with a statement on homebirth. Their statement is different from the one published by the British or the American organizations of ObGyns.
RANZOG concluded that home birth is associated with increased risks and cannot be supported. "The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) does not endorse planned homebirth."
They quote further a study published by Dr. Grunebaum in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: "A US study of nearly 10.5 million singleton live births at term of babies without congenital anomalies showed a significantly raised risk of Neonatal Mortality for home births attended by midwives (RR=4.32), home birth attended by others (RR=5.87) compared with hospital birth attended by midwives (RR=1, incidence of 3.1/10,000 births)."
How about informed choice? This is what RANZOG said: "A decision to give birth at home must be taken in the knowledge that there are relatively few resources available for the management of sudden unexpected complications that may affect any pregnancy or birth – even those without any acknowledged obstetric risk factors. Women contemplating planned homebirth need accurate information about these risks."
Does RANZOG believe whether planned homebirth should be offered as a model of care? The answer is: No. "RANZCOG believes that planned homebirth should not be offered as a model of care."
The Australians seem to have gotten it correctly:
- Homebirth is unsafe
- Homebirth should not be offered as a choice
- Women considering homebirth should get accurate information about the data