Home Birth is NOT 3 Times More Dangerous Than Hospital Birth

by Birth Without Fear on October 26, 2011

I have recently read people saying “Home birth is 3 times more dangerous than hospital birth” and “You will only birth at home if you do not care if your baby lives or dies”. Wow. If home birth is that much more dangerous than birthing in the hospital, that needs to be taken seriously!

If it were true. It’s not.

birth without fear

Mama Birth recently wrote this blog post on her blog highlighting the findings from a home birth study. One thing I love about Mama Birth, is whens she shares her opinion she states just that…it’s her opinion. When she shares information, she always backs it up. If she is wrong, while not easy, she will correct herself.

After writing this article where studies found home birth as safe as hospital births an unlicensed medical doctor came on to dispute what she shared. This unlicensed doctor claimed that home birth is in fact three times more dangerous and your baby will die in home birth. She linked to her own OPINION about the article and never once backed up anything.

Mama Birth researched the topic more extensively (as she thought maybe she was wrong and wanted to correct her blog post if she was) and all she found was more research to back up home birth being as safe as hospital birth. Upon further debate, she realized what this unlicensed doctor is doing.

I quote from Mama Birth:

“The 3X more dangerous statistic is not from a study. She (the unlicensed doctor) used the Johnson and Davis home birth study (which found home birth safe), then added BACK IN all the home birth babies that had died (one was known still BEFORE labor, others had congenital abnormalities that would have resulted in death no matter where they were born). She added those BACK IN and then got the 3X more dangerous number.

Sounds fair- she said it was because the hospital had to include numbers like that- EXCEPT THEY DIDN’T. The hospital numbers REMOVED high risk situations like that too.”

See, anyone can take a study or statistics and twist them to make them work for their benefit. Including an unlicensed doctor.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Chandra October 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I like this post a lot.
But a caution, sometimes people only read the headlines… the “or is it?” certainly suggests your real meaning, but i worry that someone would read the first line on facebook and start quoting this as a statistic!

At least we know they have no back up for it though!

I had a beautiful birth at home for my daughter. I believe it to actually be a much safer atmosphere for birth, not only for death statistics, but what about overall wellbeing? Harder to quantify I’m sure. But i think i have hear the infection rate is lower at home (because there aren’t as many contaminating factors present at home).

Plus it’s more likely to be more peaceful… I believe Micheal Odent did a study or quoted a study about children born peacefully are less likely to be criminals. Not that a rough birth pre-disposes you to criminal behaviour, but there is just more co-incidence of violent births and those children having been sent to jail at some point later in life.

Kinda all over the place there… sorry! 🙂


Everyday Miracle Doula October 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Because there are lies….. damn lies…. and statistics….


Holly October 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm

The Wax et al meta analysis concluded that babies were three times more likely to die at home than in hospital and this was splashed all over the press last year. I think that’s often where that gem comes from these days. The Wax meta analysis, however, was hideously flawed, it included widely discredited studies that did not distinguish between planned and unplanned home birth and the overall results of the analysis were not reflected in the conclusion. Despite the fact that home birth is NOT three times more likely to result in an infant mortality, the numbers either way are tiny, three times a tiny number is still a tiny number, a fact that escapes most people today.

Thank you for sharing this insight 🙂


Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama November 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm

That’s what I understood, too — that it was from the Wax study and, as you state, poorly done and a tiny risk all the way around.


The Skeptical Mother October 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Yay!! Thank you for doing this post. This needed to be said!! <3


freedom to birth October 26, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Thanks for this. X


Kim Mosny, CPM October 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Yes… thank you! 🙂


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