16/08/2010 10:01 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

'Home Births Not Dangerous,' Says General Secretary Of Royal College Of Midwives

The General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, Cathy Warwick, has responded to claims from doctors that home births are dangerous.

Ms Warwick told the Guardian: 'There is a danger that risk during childbirth is presented in a way which is leading women to believe that hospital birth equals a safe birth. It does not.

'There is no hard and fast guarantee that a woman will have a safer birth in hospital than at home.'

A recent study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology stated the average mortality rate of babies born in hospital was 0.3 per 1,000 births, rising to one per 1,000 births for those born at home.

In response to the study, medical journal the Lancet said: 'Home delivery is an option for mothers with uncomplicated pregnancies, provided they are advised of the risks involved, have one-to-one midwife care that includes good resuscitation skills and accreditation by a local regulatory body, and live in a location that allows quick access to obstetric care.'

In her argument, Ms Warwick cited the Netherlands, which has the lowest perinatal mortality levels for babies in Europe despite a third of women opting to deliver at home.

She told reporters: 'The research on positive outcomes about home birth in the Netherlands has been under attack for a year.

'What shocked us about the Lancet editorial was its language and tone and how it pumped the hype about the danger of home birth, and made sweeping and misogynist statements.'

What do you think?
Should every woman have the right to a home birth?
Should the decision ultimately be hers?
Did you have a home birth?