Understanding Recent Home-Birth Research


In the past month, two new studies have been released—one in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM; Snowden et al., 2015) and the other in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Hutton et al., 2015)—comparing out-of-hospital birth outcomes to hospital birth outcomes. These studies join a growing body of literature that consistently shows high rates of obstetric intervention in hospitals and also show low risk to neonates regardless of setting. However, the recent NEJM study found a small but statistically significant increase in risk for perinatal mortality for babies born out of hospital. Jeanette McCulloch of BirthSwell (http://www.birthswell.com) interviews Melissa Cheyney, PhD, CPM, LDM, medical anthropologist, chair of the Midwives Alliance Division of Research, and lead author on the largest study of outcomes for planned home births in the United States to date (Cheyney et al., 2014a), and Jonathan Snowden, PhD, epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and School of Public Health at Oregon Health and Science University. Snowden is also the lead author of the recent NEJM study.

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Cheyney, M. (2016). Understanding Recent Home-Birth Research. The Journal of Perinatal Education 25(2): 80-86.