One of the first questions a pregnant mother who is planning a home birth is asked is “is it safe?”
This question is rarely asked of the pregnant mother attending the local maternity hospital. Why? As a society we have now become conditioned by popular culture to believe that the safest place to have a baby is in a hospital. Historically, in the late 1800s, and early 1900s births at home were associated with poverty and possibly a lack of any professional care. Remember, The Rotunda Lying-in hospital came into being to provide the poor of Dublin with a sanitary place to give birth and recover. Having a baby in hospital became a sign of wealth and status in society. Middle class society still abounds with discussions of “oh and who is your obstetrician?” as if announcing your obstetrician´s name was the equivalent to revealing a new season Prada creation.
In addition, during the last century, many observers drew crude statistical inferences between decreasing maternal and perinatal mortality rates (numbers of mothers and babies dying in childbirth) and increasing hospital births. However, it is an established fact that the improvements in living standards, nutrition, general health and antenatal care have had a much greater effect on these rates than the trend to deli