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RCOG statement on home birth paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics

News 23 January 2014

A new paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics looks at the decisions around choosing a home birth.

The paper ‘Homebirth and the Future Child’ argues that both professionals and pregnant women have an ethical obligation to minimise risk of long-term harm to the future child. It also states that the medical literature does not currently adequately address the risk of long-term disability.

The authors state that couples should be informed of the possible risks of long-term disability when choosing the place of birth.

The Birthplace study provided us with robust data on the safety of births across four different settings and the evidence points to the need for the appropriate selection of women for the different settings.

Healthcare professionals must provide information on the risks and benefits of each birth setting and the types of treatment available in each so that women can go on to make informed choices on their place of birth.

This ethical paper provides an interesting perspective and the RCOG supports the call for more research into the prevalence of long-term disability associated with births in different settings.


For more information see results from the Birthplace study or view the full paper Homebirth and the Future Child.