Why I think RANZCOG is wrong on low-risk homebirths

Professor David Ellwood responds to his critics

A review that suggested planned homebirths for low-risk women were safe caused alarm with RANZCOG condemning its conclusions. The author of that review, Professor David Ellwood, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Griffith University and director of maternal-fetal medicine at the Gold Coast University Hospital, in Queensland, says the fears are misplaced.

Q. What was the nature of your review?

Professor Ellwood: We conducted a systematic review of published papers from all over the world, including five Australian studies.

We found accumulating evidence that for low-risk women and women not in their first pregnancy, there’s no measurable difference in the outcomes for babies, but there are certainly some advantages for women in terms of having a spontaneous vaginal birth.

Other risks were reduced as well, such as the