Giving birth at home is no more dangerous than being in hospital, a major new study has found.
Researchers in Holland - where home birth is very common - found that neither mother nor baby was at greater risk from a home birth provided the pregnancy was seen as being low risk.
In a study of 529,688 births at home and in hospital, the death rate among babies, and for the first seven days after birth, was similar in both groups.
The researchers emphasise that a home birth is safe provided the birth is considered to be low risk, and there is an experienced midwife on hand.
(Source: BJOG, 2009; April 15, 2009, doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2009.02175).