Homebirths booked with a group of general practitioners and midwives in South Australia in 1976-1987 are described using data obtained from midwives' and hospital records. The births represented 84.7% of all births occurring at home in South Australia in 1984-1987, as assessed by official birth registrations. Of the 799 women intending to deliver at home, 136 (17.%) required transfer to hospital before or during labour. A further 38 mothers of babies (4.8%) required transfer after delivery. The women tended to be of a relatively high socio-economic status and older age distribution when compared with women who had hospital births as identified from the State perinatal data collection. Some had recognised pregnancy risk factors. They had lower frequencies of ultrasound examination, induced labour, epidural analgesia, episiotomy, forceps delivery and caesarean section, and a low frequency of use of oxytocics for the third stage. Their rates of postpartum haemorrhage and, in particular, perinatal mortality were higher. Potential sources of risk and difficulty in homebirth care and evaluation of this care are identified and an approach to providing an effective homebirth service is proposed.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Medical Journal of Australia|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1990|