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Giving birth at home is just as safe as at the hospital

Giving birth at the midwife is as safe as giving birth in a hospital under the supervision of a gynecologist. That is the conclusion of gynecologists and obstetricians from the AMC and VUmc in Amsterdam.

Home birth is a unique Dutch tradition. It happens within a “midwifery system” where pregnant women with a low risk of complications give birth under the control of the midwife. That is possible at home, but also in a clinic. Women with an increased chance of something going wrong during delivery are supervised by the gynecologist. They can no longer choose to give birth at home.

“Baby mortality due to obstetric system”, headlined NRC Handelsblad in early November 2010 when the Utrecht study appeared. And the newspaper Trouw started the news with: “Baby safer with gynecologist”. The tone was set and the battle between midwives and gynecologists flared up in newspapers and on TV. With the positive conclusion that cooperation must improve. It all happened in a period of worrying publications about the high infant mortality rate in the Netherlands, compared to other European countries.