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UK calls women with uncomplicated pregnancies to have their babies at home

Staff writer |
Britain's National Institute for Health Care and Excellence issued new guidelines: It advises women with uncomplicated pregnancies to have their babies at home or in a birth center rather than in a hospital.

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The health service says that 45 percent of babies could be born with midwives at home or in a birthing center because the moms and babies will be safer.

In United Kingdom training is university based. It is a three-year degree program with clinical rotations. In the UK and most other countries there is one nation-wide licensing system and the training is same across the country with the standards by the International Confederation of Midwives. That's why a British midwife can practice in other countries.

Meanwhile in the US, midwife training varies. There are nurse midwives who are educated in colleges and universities and do clinical practice, and there are midwives with only a high-school degree and little formal training. One reason is the differences in the way different states regulate midwives.

In the U.S., licensure is done separately by each state so there are variations in practice and requirements for obtaining a license. In fact, some U.S. states have no requirements at all.

In the UK, less than 3 percent of babies are born at home. A hospital birth costs $2,500, while a home birth, with two midwives provided by the health service costs $1,500, according to a report in the New York Times.

Across the ocean, giving birth is more expensive in the U.S. A study published in BMJ Open in January, University of California, San Francisco found that California women giving birth were charged from $3,296 to $37,227 for an uncomplicated delivery. For a C-section, women were billed between $8,312 and nearly $71,000.

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