Call for research into disability risk of homebirths

In an opinion published today in a BMJ journal, Associate Professor Lachlan de Crespigny of the University of Melbourne, argues that while perinatal death as a result of a homebirth results in a coroner’s report and subsequent media attention, long-term disability as a result of homebirth remains a “silent tragedy” and that “both professionals and pregnant women have an ethical obligation to minimise the risk of long-term harm to the child.”

“One of the things I find particularly interesting is that the whole emphasis on prenatal care is on the health of the future child, people worry about their diet and their alcohol intake,” Professor de Crespigny told MO

“There is a focus in the community and amongst doctors on the health of child but not amongst the home birth community.”

Hannah Dahlen, a professor of midwifery at the University of Western Sydney, said that any research