Home births are three times riskier than giving birth in hospital, according to new research.
Researchers are now warning mothers-to-be that not giving birth on traditional maternity wards with specialist care and equipment could put their unborn baby at risk.
The researchers of the study found that babies born at home are at higher risk of heart and breathing problems. They believe this is because they are not properly monitored for problems during labour.
However, the overall risks are still very low. The mortality rate from the study of 549, 607 births in total is still only 0.3 per 1,000 births in hospitals, and 1 in 1,000 home births.
Dr Joseph Wax, who lead the research at Maine Medical Center, in New Hampshire, US, said: 'We don't know exactly why this trend exists but there could be many causes such as a lack of equipment and expertise.
'At home foetuses may not be adequately monitored for early signs of distress. In hospital they are constantly checked but at home the midwife is on her own doing everything.'
Currently, home births account for 2.7% of all births in the UK. The number has steadily risen as women demand more choice over where they have their babies. Between 2006 and 2007 the number of home births rose by 10 per cent.
What do you think about these findings? Did you have a home birth?
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