25/11/2011 12:24 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Home Births Increase Baby Death Risk For First Time Mums, Claims Study

Pregnant mother and nurse PA

A study is claiming that first-time mothers are three times more likely to lose their baby if they decide to have a home birth.

Researchers say the risk of stillbirth, death in the first week of life, brain injury and upper arm and shoulder fractures are all increased by delivering at home.

They did however concede that giving birth in Britain was "generally very safe" and agreed that having a baby at home over choosing a hospital had "much to recommend".

The study looked at records of almost 65,000 mums-to-be who had only a low-risk of complications and who planned to give birth in hospital, at home or at a midwife-led unit.

It found serious problems occurred in 9.5 of every 1,000 home births, compared to 3.5 for those women delivering in a hospital maternity unit.

Home birth problems were linked to trauma during labour, or the baby becoming distressed which in turn led to oxygen deprivation.

The study also found that almost 50 per cent of first-time mothers were taken to hospital when complications developed.

The research also concluded that those delivering their first babies in hospitals or other midwife-run units faced no increased risk, nor did women having a second or subsequent babies at home.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Brocklehurst, author of the Oxford University Birthplace in England study, said: "There is an increase in risk for first-time mums planning home births. But poor outcomes for the baby are still uncommon. Giving birth in England is generally very safe."

More on Parentdish: Will more mums have solo births because of a shortage of midwives?

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