Birthplace Matters

ACM welcomes the results of a new study of over 1.2 million Australian births, showing the impact of birthplace (birth centres, homebirth and hospital) on birth outcomes.

Healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies who plan to have their babies in birth centres or at home are more likely to have a normal birth than those who plan a hospital birth, a new study has found.

Compared with planned hospital births, the odds of normal labour and birth were more than twice as high in planned birth centre births and nearly six times as high in planned home births. Planned birth centre births and home births also resulted in lower rates of most maternal complications, with no significant effect on perinatal mortality.

Leader of the study, Professor Caroline Homer from the Centre of Midwifery, Child and Family Health at the University of Technology Sydney and Co-Program Director of Maternal and Child Health at the Burnet Institute said, ‘Deciding where to give birth should be a woman’s choice and now we have even more evidence to inform that choice.”

“The more successfully these community-based options are integrated and planned for in a country’s maternity system, the better the outcomes are for mothers and babies.”

Co-author David Ellwood, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Dean of Medicine at Griffith University, said the results from the painstaking study were not a surprise, and should be seen as reassurance that for low-risk women there were positive effects in choosing a place of birth other than the traditional labour ward setting.

“This study can provide women and health care providers with new evidence about the safety of places of birth, especially birth centres and homebirth,” Professor Ellwood said.

ACM welcomed the results of the study.

“It’s fantastic to see a wide reaching national study on birthplace in Australia. The results support what we already know to be true; that healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies don’t need to go to hospital to have their babies. Care from a known midwife is the best possible maternity care you can get in Australia. And it costs less!”


Please contact:

Victoria Forrest, ACM Communications Officer 0432 939 121


Additional information: The Australian College of Midwives
The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) is the peak professional body for midwives in Australia. ACM’s position is that women be attended during pregnancy, birth and postnatally by a midwife who is registered with the NMBA.