Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

This Week In The Bmj

Giving birth: home can be better than hospital

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 16 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:0-a

Rapid Response:

Caution needed...

Dear Sir
I have read the very interesting study on the outcome of pregnancies at
The Dutch women have this experience for a very lon time with the
excellent health indicators we are all aware of.
Also, some "movements" of "back to the ecological and natural" Have
insisted in the return to home births, namely through the report og nice
experiences by mothers in general public magazines.
Notwithstanding, I think that we have to be very cautious. Not only to
avoid fashions that spread more rapidly and universally than scientific
sound knowledge, but also because this issues are reported in newspapers
and pass to the general public as being "very easy". Portugal had a
tremendous perinatal and infant mortality rate thirty years ago (close to
90 and 65 per thousand, respectively). Only 20% of births took palce in
hospital environment. Now, figures are 5.0 and 4,6. Obviously there are
multiple causes for that, bu the fact that 99,8 births are in hospitals
definetely contributed to that. Any movement in the opposite direction has
to be extremely careful and backed up by human and technical resources -
with the present budget "crysis", I am sure we wouldn´t be able to support
it, with the immediate undesirable consequences as far as mother and
children´s health.
Yours sincerely
Mário Cordeiro, MD, PhD, Professor of Paediatrics and Public Health

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 June 2005
Mario J Cordeiro
Professor of Paediatrics and Public Health
Faculty of Medical Sciences, Lisbon, Portugal