NCT response: The Lancet on home birth

Released on: 20 July 2011

Mary Newburn, Head of Research and Information, NCT, said:


“Comments like these are concerning to read. All adults with the mental capacity to make decisions have the right to decide which treatment options they accept or decline. Pregnant women have the same rights as other adults, a fundamental legal principle.


For a healthy woman with a straightforward, low-risk pregnancy, home birth is a safe option. Our own review of home birth concluded that, for women with a low risk of complications, there is no evidence that the likelihood of a baby dying during or shortly after labour is any higher if they plan for a home birth than if they plan for a hospital birth.


“NCT’s critique of the study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Philadelphia found that there were a range of serious methodological limitations, and that the claims on the safety of home birth were completely unjustifiable.


“Provided women have a straightforward pregnancy, home birth should be considered a mainstream option for women in the UK alongside birth centres and hospital maternity units.”