Babies born at home to first time mums are more likely to suffer complications than those born in hospital, according to research.
The landmark study, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that the rate of ‘poor outcomes’ including stillbirths, newborn deaths, and the baby being deprived of oxygen during labour, were higher among first time mothers.
It said new time mothers planning a home birth face an increased risk of adverse outcomes for the baby on a ratio of 9.3 per 1,000 births compared with 5.3 per 1,000 births in obstetric units.
In addition, the findings reveal that up to 45 per cent of first time mothers are transferred from home to hospital either during labour or immediately after the birth.
However, the research also found that women having their second or third babies were just as safe at home or in a midwifery unit as they were in a hospital.
The study examined 65,000 ‘low risk’ births between April 2008 and April 2010.
Dr Peter Brocklehurst, who led the study, said: “There is an increase in risk for first time mums planning home births, but poor outcomes for the baby are still uncommon.”