AIMS: To determine the obstetric and neonatal outcomes of a cohort of very low risk pregnancies in hospital, that would be suitable for home delivery. METHODS: A retrospective analysis was undertaken of computerised records covering five years from July 1988 to August 1993 of 32424 pregnant women who delivered at the North Staffordshire Maternity Hospital, Stoke on Trent, during that period. RESULTS: Of 32424 deliveries, only 1314 (4%) fulfilled our criteria for being low risk. Sixty seven (5.1%) of the low risk group had an operative delivery, with Caesarean section accounting for 32 (2.4%) cases, 16 (23.9%) babies were resuscitated and three were intubated. A normal vaginal delivery occurred in 1245 women, but a paediatrician attended 122 births (9.22%), assisted ventilation was provided in 65 cases (5.2%), and five babies were intubated (0.4%). Fourteen babies in total were admitted to the neonatal unit and one died. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that at least 5% of women suitable for delivery at home will require transfer in labour. Midwives attending home births must be skilled in bag and mask resuscitation as only rarely will an urgent intubation be required. The British Paediatric Association Working Party report on neonatal resuscitation suggests a need for resuscitation in only 0.2% of low risk deliveries: but these findings suggest that the need is greater.
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