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Home :: Natural Birth :: Environment :: Home Birth Statistics
Home Birth Statistics
Independent Midwives assist a woman giving birth to her baby at a home water birth

Independent Midwives assist a woman to give birth to her baby at a home water birth

In 2007, 870 planned homebirths, representing 0.3% of all women who gave birth, were reported nationally.

There were 2174 fetal deaths in Australian hospitals/birth centres in 2007. There were 3 fetal deaths at home during planned homebirths in 2007. Of babies born at home in 2007, 99.7% were liveborn.

In 2006, 708 planned homebirths, representing 0.2% of all women who gave birth, were reported nationally.

There were 2091 fetal deaths in Australian hospitals in 2006. No babies died at home during planned homebirths in 2006.

The highest proportion of homebirths occurred in Western Australia (0.7%) It is probable that not all homebirths are reported to the perinatal data collections.

The mean age of mothers who gave birth at home in 2007 was 32.1 years. The proportion of mothers aged less than 20 years was 0.8%, and the proportion aged 35 years and over was 32.9%.

The proportion of mothers who gave birth at home who identified as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin was 0.6%. The largest proportion of women who had a homebirth lived in major cities (56.8%).

Of mothers who gave birth at home, one-quarter had their first baby (24.9%), and 74.3% were multiparous.

The method of birth was non-instrumental vaginal for 99.5% of women who gave birth at home, and the presentation was vertex for 97.6% of women who gave birth at home.

Of babies born at home in 2007, 99.7% were liveborn. The mean birthweight of these liveborn babies was 3,678 grams. The proportion of liveborn babies of low birthweight born at home was 0.5%, and the proportion of babies born at home that were preterm was 1.4%.

In 2007, there were 2,177 fetal deaths reported –  2,174 occurred in hospitals or birth centres and 3 at home.

Source: Australia’s Mothers & Babies Report 2006 & 2007 available online here – http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10972

Find a Midwife

To locate an independent midwife in your local area, please check here for Australia wide information or if you are in the Sydney area, check this list from Homebirth Access Sydney.

Future of Homebirth in Australia

Currently in Australia you have three choices of where you can birth your baby; Hospital, Birth Centre and Home.

By 2010, this will only be two as the Rudd Government plans to make independent midwives ‘collaborate’ with a doctor in order to gain registration.

Unfortunately the Australian Medical Association refuses to acknowledge the substantial international evidence clearly demonstrating the safety and benefits of home births for mothers and babies (see resources section below on this page.)

Thousands of women across the country will no longer be able to access an independent midwife and their excellent record of improving outcomes for Australian mothers and babies. Denying women access to independent midwives will not stop home-births but will drive it underground which is not safe for mothers and babies. Pulling more births back into our hospitals also saddles our health care system with hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs and results in no increase in safety.

Please see the Home Birth Australia website for more details and if you are concerned about this, please see here for how you can take action about this.

storiesBirth Stories

Charlies-Birth-6-4-09-130 I took my decision to have a home birth for the birth of my second child very seriously, I had a good birth experience for the birth of my first child, but I had to be strong and actually leave the hospital during my labour to stop the doctor from intervening unnecessarily. Read More.
shell_th My son was born at 2.01pm on Mother’s Day 2005. Being born into the world here in my bedroom in the birth pool. A very fast labour, after waiting for many days after his due date to arrive…. and he is huge 10 pounds 7 ounces. Read More.
justine1 Justine Caines is the secretary of Homebirth Australia and a respected advocate of natural birth. She gave birth to twins at home in December 2005, and tells their story here. Justine has also written an article on risk and birth which elaborates on her informed decision to plan a homebirth for her twins. Read more.

resources

Resources

Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America
A study of over 5000 births in the USA and Canada. Women who intended at the start of labour to have a home birth with a certified professional midwife had a low rate of intrapartum and neonatal mortality, similar to that in most studies of low risk hospital births in North America. A high degree of safety and maternal satisfaction were reported, and over 87% of mothers and neonates did not require transfer to hospital.

An economic analysis found that an uncomplicated vaginal birth in hospital in the United States cost on average three times as much as a similar birth at home with a midwife in an environment where management of birth has become an economic, medical, and industrial enterprise. (2005)

Outcomes of planned home birth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician
This Canadian study of over 12,000 births showed planned home birth attended by a registered midwife was associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of obstetric interventions and other adverse perinatal outcomes compared with planned hospital birth attended by a midwife or physician. (2009)

Perinatal mortality and morbidity in a nationwide cohort of 529,688 low-risk planned home and hospital birth
This is the largest study of the safety of home birth that has ever been done, and the authors rightfully argue that the Netherlands is the only Western country that a study of this size could be done, as about 30% of Dutch women give birth at home. They analysed the births of all low-risk women who delivered between Jan 1, 2000 and Dec 31, 2006.

This study shows that planning a home birth does not increase the risks of perinatal mortality and severe perinatal morbidity among low-risk women, provided the maternity care system facilitates this choice through the availability of well-trained midwives and through a good transportation and referral system. (2009)

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