Background: A meta-analysis of observational studies have suggested that planned home birth may be safe and with less interventions than planned hospital birth.
Objectives: The objective of this review was to assess the effects of planned home birth compared to hospital birth on the rates of interventions, complications and morbidity as determined in randomised trials.
Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group trials register and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register. Date of last search: September 1999.
Selection criteria: Controlled trials comparing planned hospital birth to planned home birth in selected women, assisted by an experienced home birth practitioner, and backed up by a modern hospital system in case transfer should be necessary.
Data collection and analysis: Trial quality was assessed and data were extracted by one reviewer and checked by the other reviewer. Study authors were contacted for additional information.
Main results: One study involving 11 women was included. The trial was of reasonable quality, but was too small to be able to draw conclusions.
Reviewer's conclusions: There is no strong evidence to favour either planned hospital birth or planned home birth for low risk pregnant women.