Home Births, Failed Resuscitation Link

PORTLAND, Maine, July 2 (UPI) — U.S. researchers suggest home births may need more neonatal resuscitation support to prevent infant deaths.

Researchers at Maine Medical Center in Portland analyzed the results of multiple studies from around the world and found a greater proportion of deaths due to respiratory distress and failed resuscitation among home births vs. hospital births.

The meta-analysis of 342,056 planned home deliveries and 207,551 planned hospital deliveries, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, concluded low-risk mothers who had given birth previously were in large part successful in achieving their goal of delivering with less medical intervention. However, these benefits were associated with a doubling of the neonatal mortality rate overall and a near tripling of deaths among infants born without congenital defects.

“Our findings raise the question of a link between the increased neonatal mortality among planned home births and the decreased obstetric intervention in this group,” lead investigator Dr. Joseph Wax said in a statement.

Wax and colleagues point out their findings echo concerns raised in a recent large U.S. cohort study where more home birth babies experienced poorer Apgar scores and the researchers suggest a need to increase personnel, training and equipment available for neonatal resuscitation.

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