Outcomes of 1001 midwife-attended home births in Toronto, 1983-1988

Birth. 1991 Mar;18(1):14-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-536x.1991.tb00047.x.


A retrospective descriptive study of 1001 midwife-attended home births in Toronto, Ontario, was carried out between January 1983 and July 1988. Interviews with 26 midwives and reviews of client records provided data on maternal age, socio-economic status, gestation, ruptured membranes, length of labor, episiotomies and perineal lacerations, transfer to hospital of mother or baby or both, infant resuscitation, and breastfeeding. Of 1001 planned home births, 361 involved primiparous women, of whom 245 (68%) remained at home and 116 (32%) required transfer of mother or baby to hospital during labor or the first four postpartum days. Of the 640 multiparous births, 591 (92%) women remained at home and 49 (8%) required transfer to hospital. Among women transferred, 91 had spontaneous vaginal births, 34 had forceps deliveries, and 35 had cesarean sections. Variables significantly associated with maternal transfer for both primiparas and multiparas were length of latent and active phases of the first stage of labor, length of the second stage of labor, and duration of ruptured membranes. Five neonates were transferred and two died, one each after birth at home and in hospital. There were no maternal deaths. The proportion of mothers breastfeeding without supplement at 28 days postpartum was 98.6 percent.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Home Childbirth / nursing
  • Home Childbirth / standards*
  • Home Childbirth / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Nurse Midwives / standards*
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / epidemiology
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Patient Transfer / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population