Planned births at home or in a midwife-led unit are more cost-effective for the NHS than giving birth in hospital, University of Oxford study suggests
Giving birth at home or in a midwife-led unit may be a safe and cheaper option for second-time mums, a study suggests.
Researchers from Oxford University studied 64,000 births in England between 2008 and 2010.
They found home births are around £300 cheaper to provide than hospital deliveries for low-risk women who'd already had children.
For first-time mums, the study indicated a planned birth at a midwifery unit cost less than a birth in an obstetric unit. A home birth was also cheaper, but could have more risks for the baby compared to a hopsital birth with obstetricians, the study suggested.
The research, published online in the British Medical Journal, was a follow-up analysis from the Birthplace in England national study to calculate the cost, and health effects, of women at low-risk of complications giving birth.
Co-author of the study Liz Schroeder said: “The findings of the Birthplace study may encourage women – particularly women having a second or subsequent baby - to request an ‘out of hospital’ birth.
"And the potential for cost savings could make offering women more choice an attractive option for the NHS.”
According to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), only 2.5% of women in England and Wales had a home birth 2010.
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