Wow. Amazing results of a new study looking at predicted hospital resource savings that could have occured if all low-risk women in Australia gave birth at home or in birth centers in 2017.

Study:

The study by Callander EJ et al. (Feb 12, 2021) looked at an administrative data set including 44 498 who gave birth in Queensland, Australia between 01/07/2012 and 30/06/2015.

The data was then re-weighted to represent all Australian women giving birth in 2017

Results:

Home births

The researchers estimated that if all low-risk women gave birth at home in 2017...

  • C-section rates would have reduced from 13.4% to 2.7%.
  • Saving an estimated 860 fewer inpatient bed days
  • 10.1 fewer hours of women's intensive care unit time per 1000 births.


Birth Centres

The researchers estimated that if all low-risk women gave birth in birth-centres...

  • C-section rates would have reduced from 13.4% to 6.7%.
  • Saving an estimated 760 inpatient bed days....
  • 5.6 hours of women's intensive care unit time per 1000 births.


Conclusion:

Well, the conclusion is pretty obvious:

"Significant health resource savings could occur by shifting low-risk births from hospitals to home birth and birth center services"

My take-home-message:

There are many reasons why expectant parents choose to give birth at home or in birth centres.

But I love that this research gives policy makers who want to make resource savings a strong financial incentive to look at fully supporting parent choice to give birth at home or in a birth centre.

Time for a re-think for low-risk pregnancies, especially when you think about the benefits of home-birth for the optimal "seeding and feeding" of the infant microbiome!

What do you think?

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Science reference:

Callander EJ, Bull C, McInnes R, Toohill J. The opportunity costs of birth in Australia: Hospital resource savings for a post-COVID-19 era. Birth. 2021 Feb 12. doi: 10.1111/birt.12538. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33580537.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33580537/

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