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tr_ wrote: But again, I wonder whether the surprising degree of safety of homebirth might be related to this kind of issue. 90% of women in hospitals get analgesia for labor; most homebirths don't. It seems obvious that there would be a small percentage of babies like the ones clee03 mentions, who would have much better chances of survival in the hospital than when born at home. So why don't those kids show up on the homebirth statistics? As I said up above I suspect it may be that the hospital environment (which may or may not include epidural use - could also be issues like nosocomial infection, etc.) contributes to neonatal M&M in other cases, which end up approximately canceling out with the ones that benefit from the hospital.