C-sections are generally regarded as a safer method of delivery, with many birth experts opting for them in emergency situations as an attempt to save the lives of mothers and babies.

London - Women who choose to give birth at home are less likely to suffer from life-threatening bleeding than those who have their baby in hospital, a study has found.

Excessive bleeding after birth - Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) - is one of the main causes of childbirth-related deaths in the UK.

It occurs more often in maternity units than during planned home deliveries, according to an analysis of the medical records of more than 500,000 women. Now there are calls for a change in hospital procedures after researchers concluded that the over-use of medical intervention techniques during childbirth may be partly to blame.

The report, by researchers at the University of Southampton, says reliance on drugs to speed up contractions, surgical incisions to ease delivery and emergency caesareans may be compromising the safety of women in labour.

Janet Fyle, professional policy adviser at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This is further evidence of a correlation between PPH and interventions in childbirth. It is not appropriate to herd every woman into hospital.

“The important thing is to give people more choice and information.”

The study concluded: “Future research should address the possibility that procedures such as labour augmentation and emergency caesarean section are over-used in the hospital setting.” - Daily Mail