Newborn babies are shown at a hospital maternity ward in India, in this file photo from July 10, 2009 ---
Around 56.1 per cent of women respondents backed home birth with assistance of certified midwives. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: More than half of women prefer childbirth at home mainly for a host of reasons including fear of the novel coronavirus, according to a Saudi survey.

A total of 6,136 women and men had taken part in the survey conducted by a group representing midwives in the kingdom, the Saudi newspaper Okaz reported Tuesday.

Around 56.1 per cent of women respondents backed home birth with assistance of certified midwives. They attributed their preference to low chances of contracting COVID-19, privacy, and reduced delivery costs. Health professionals, covered by the survey who favoured home birth, believe such deliveries would lessen unnecessary medical interventions, in addition to availability of qualified midwives.

Excluding male obstetricians

For men favouring delivering at home, their reasons were that the option would exclude male obstetricians, ensure family intimacy and stave off potential baby abduction, Okaz said.

Around 29.4 per cent of expectant mothers, mainly with low-risk pregnancies who participated in the survey, were firmly in favour of giving birth at home.

Some 5.2 others said they might choose this type of delivery due to several considerations including fears of the coronavirus, but they conditioned their choice on availability of a qualified medical team to oversee birth at home.

Saudi Arabia so far has reported a total of 213,716 virus cases and 1,968 related deaths.

Those opposing giving birth at home cited post-partum complications and family anxiety. Some specialists, covered by the survey, opposed home births, too. They argued that sterilisation of necessary instruments would be unavailable and difficulty in handling high-risk pregnancies at home.