Is home birth safe?

We will discuss “Perinatal mortality and morbidity up to 28 days after birth among 743 070 low-risk planned home and hospital births: a cohort study based on three merged national perinatal databases” by de Jong and co-workers from 29 July 2015 for 7 days.

*This paper will be made FREE-TO-VIEW on 15 June 2015.

There are two linked commentaries with this #BlueJC paper:

We are now on LinkedIn too: (simply ask to join)!

Start date: 29 July 2015 (the discussion will open for 7 days between 29 July 2015 to 5 August)

First hosted discussion session(s) starts at: BST 7pm (UK time)

Host: @jimgthornton (Prof. Thornton, University of Nottingham) and @BlueJCHost

Platforms: Twitter and LinkedIn

BJOG_BlueJC_160x600WebBanner_Mar15_(reoriented)_3The Blue Journal Club is an international journal club on women’s health research based on Twitter (as @BlueJCHost). We start our conversation on the last Wednesday of every month and use the hashtag #BlueJC for our tweets. Simply add this hashtag (“#BlueJC”) to each tweet and we will capture it. Each #BlueJC opens for 7 days with an advertised start time. All BJOG #BlueJC papers also have complementary slide sets suitable for face-to-face journal clubs with your local colleagues. You can access the slide set of this paper here (data S1).

The discussion points are attached below (quoted from the published manuscript)


A 28-year-old nulliparous woman comes to see her midwife at 36 week of her pregnancy. She has an uncomplicated pregnancy to date and no other medical history. She asks, “can I have a home birth?”

Description of research


Low-risk women in midwife-led care


Planned home birth


Planned hospital birth


Intrapartum and neonatal death, Apgar scores, and admission to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) within 28 days of birth

Study design

A nationwide cohort study, using national registration data

Discussion Points

  • In your practice, how common is home birth?
  • Which additional factors health professionals need to consider when counseling the woman in the scenario?
  • According to this study, what are the risks of home birth in nulliparous women? Compare these risks in multiparous woman.
  • How do the results of this study different from the Birthplace Study?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of this cohort study?
  • How do the results of this study cognate with the recommendations on the place of birth by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE CG190)?
  • Are the results of this study generalisable in different healthcare settings?
  • Are randomised controlled trials appropriate to determine safety of home birth?
  • How would the results of this study influence your daily practice?

Suggested reading

  • Brocklehurst P, Hardy P, Hollowell J, Linsell L, Macfarlane A, McCourt C, et al. Perinatal and maternal outcomes by planned place of birth for healthy women with low risk pregnancies: the Birthplace in England national prospective cohort study. BMJ 2011;343:d7400.
  • Chervenak FA, McCullough LB, Arabin B, Brent RL, Levene MI, Grünebaum A. Planned homebirth: not a Dutch treat for export. BJOG. 2015 Apr;122(5):730.
  • Knight M. How should we interpret the new Dutch evidence on home birth? BJOG. 2015 Apr;122(5):729.
  • The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Intrapartum Care (CG190). Available from:
  • Olsen O, Clausen JA. Planned hospital birth versus planned home birth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Sep 12;9:CD000352.

For those who want to understand hashtags, this may be a useful guide. For an introduction to #BlueJC, please refer to BJOG 2013;120:657–60. Follow @BlueJCHostthis blog and our Facebook page to receive news about #BlueJC.