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Celebrating Homebirth Week

Celebrating Homebirth Week

Born at home.

19 October 2004

Home Birth Week is being celebrated around NZ from 25 - 31 October 2004. The theme this year is 'Born At Home'.

Home birth is the best option for many women who want a safe, normal, and humanised birth for themselves, their babies and their whanau.

A wealth of information and research is available looking at the comparative safety of birthing at home and in a hospital environment. The evidence is clear: home can be the safest and most comfortable option for many women and their babies.

Research shows that low-risk women who plan a home birth were half as likely to have a caesarean section as those who plan a hospital birth. A joint study by AUT and South Auckland Health concluded that it was 'less safe for low risk women to birth at a base hospital' due to the higher likelihood of intervention.

The World Health Organisation states that at least 80% of all women are capable of a normal birth - without any intervention. New Zealand trends do not reflect this. The high rate of medical interventions in New Zealand is reflected in our high rate of hospital births.

Scientific evidence also shows labour pain is significantly increased by labouring in an unfamiliar place, being surrounded by unfamiliar people and unfamiliar procedures. This explains the epidemic of epidural use for normal labour pain, which can lead to further medical procedures during and after a hospital birth. Pain is an important part of the natural process.

Parents Centres NZ Inc recognises birth to be a significant life event and a normal physiological process. Home birthing can enable more women to achieve a positive birth experience. Parents Centres NZ Inc has been promoting normal active births for over 50 years, and applauds countries, like Holland, where home births are the norm.

Birthing a baby should be an empowering experience. Research shows that choosing to birth outside a medical environment increases the likelihood of shorter labours, feelings of empowerment and successful breastfeeding. Evidence of lower medical intervention rates and lower fetal distress during labour contribute to a better safety record for mothers and babies birthing at home or at birthing units.

Home Birth Week is a time to reflect on the accepted norm for birth today and spread the word that birth can be empowering, easier and safer at home.

Parents Centres NZ Inc. is proud to support Home Birth Week.


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