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Home Births In The US Found To Have Slight Risk That May Lead To Infant Deaths

Update Date: Jan 02, 2016 08:41 PM EST
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An increasing number of US births happen at home or in birthing centers rather than in hospitals. However, a recently published study that appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine reexamines the health risks associated with home births.

The study reignites the debate on home birth as the research suggests that giving birth at home heightens the risk of newborn complications.

The research involved a careful examination of nearly 8, 000 Oregon pregnancies. According to a report by Los Angeles Times, births that occur at home or in residential-style birthing centers result to 3.9 perinatal deaths for every 1, 000 live births. Infant mortality rate in hospitals tend to be lower at 1.8 for every 1, 000 deliveries.

Other harms linked to home births include higher probability of neonatal seizures, increased risks for infants needing ventilators, and chances of mothers needing blood transfusions as mentioned by New York Times.

On the other hand, the study also reports that the likelihood of cesarean sections is lower at 5.3% in residential-style births compared with 24.7% in hospitals.

"There is a small risk of serious complications that are best dealt with in hospital. They're rare but the risk is not zero. The tradeoff is, in the hospital, you lose control over your birth experience," remarked study co-author Dr. Aaron Caughey of Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine as quoted saying by NWI Times.

While the pros and cons of birthing at home are highly debated for health reasons, the decision ultimately falls on the mother's willingness to take the risks.

In another note, data from the National Center for Health Statistics revealed that Oregon ranks among the top six US states with incredibly high out-of-hospital birth rates. In a 2012 statistical data by health authorities, Oregon ranked third at 3.8% with Alaska in the first place at 6% as stated by Modern Healthcare.

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