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Letters Safety of planned home births

Findings of meta-analysis cannot be relied on

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 27 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4033
  1. Gill Gyte, research associate1,
  2. Miranda Dodwell, editor, BirthChoiceUK2,
  3. Mary Newburn, head, research and information3,
  4. Jane Sandall, professor of women’s health4,
  5. Alison Macfarlane, professor of perinatal health5,
  6. Susan Bewley, consultant obstetrician/maternal-fetal medicine6
  1. 1Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group, Division of Perinatal and Reproductive Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool L8 7SS
  2. 2c/o NCT, Alexandra House, London W3 6NH
  3. 3NCT, Alexandra House, London W3 6NH
  4. 4Department of Primary Care and Public Health, King’s College London, London SE1 3QD
  5. 5Department of Midwifery and Child Health, City University London, London E1 2EA
  6. 6Women’s Services, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London SE1 7EH
  1. ggyte{at}

    Mayor reports that a meta-analysis has linked planned home births with a twofold higher rate of neonatal mortality compared with hospital births.1 2 Closer inspection calls this finding into question.

    The quality of studies in any meta-analysis is critical, but no assessment was reported. Studies were observational with many not matched adequately for confounders.

    Neonatal …

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