The Birthplace Study, 2011


I wanted to give you all a summary of the Birthplace Study, which was published towards the end of 2011. It was a major study undertaken to assess the provision of services to women in labour. On the whole it was extremely positive. The media, of course, were rather sensationalist about the home birth statistics, which showed an increase in adverse perinatal outcomes for the baby in first time mothers. However, it is worth noting, having spoken to several midwives about this now, that all perinatal outcomes were listed together, from the very mild to the very serious. And, the other thing that midwives wanted to point out is that transferring to hospital from a home birth does not necessarily indicate a major problem requiring blue-lit ambulances, it can just be a decision by the mother that she requires more pain relief, or a concern that Mum is “failing to progress” satisfactorily. Anyway, I will let you read the summary (which I have adapted from a presentation by Julie Frohlich, the midwife in charge of “normalising birth” at St Thomas’s Hospital, where I sit on the Maternity Services Liaison Committee) and come to your own conclusions.

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