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Call for clearer warning over health risks of home births

Doctors and academics are calling for more awareness around the health risks of a home birth, including the "silent tragedy" of disability for babies. Experts warned not enough was being said about the chance of oxygen starvation during birth.

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Home births risk 'silent tragedy' of disability

Women giving birth at home should be made more aware of the "silent tragedy" of long-term disabilities for their babies, particularly those caused by lack of oxygen during birth, according to experts.

More couples should be aware of the risks home births pose to their unborn child, experts said. Credit: PA

Doctors and academics warned little had been said of the chance of disability as a repercussion of a home birth, particularly caused by oxygen starvation.

The authors said deprivation of oxygen - medically known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) - can lead to cerebral palsy, and motor and cognitive problems that can be detected at school-age.

Writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics, researchers accused "cost-cutting" of being partly behind "the enthusiasm for home birth" and that "couples should be warned of avoidable and foreseeable risks of future child disability,".

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