For a healthy woman with a normal pregnancy, there is no safer place than a free-standing birth center with a well-trained midwife. Well-designed studies repeatedly show that planned home and birth center births attended by a licensed midwife equipped with medications and oxygen are equally safe, with significantly fewer interventions, when compared to hospital births. This safety record relies on appropriate screening, consultation, and transfer of care if complications arise during pregnancy or birth.
Since 1990, the World Health Organization has maintained that in both developed and developing countries birth was actually safer for mothers and babies when midwives were used for pregnancy and childbirth. Countries with the highest rate of midwifery care today – such as the Netherlands, which has a 30% out-of-hospital birth rate – also have the best outcomes for mothers and babies.
Our professional organization, the Midwives Association of Washington State, keeps a current list of research on this topic. If you’d like to read more on the topic click here.