BACKGROUND COVID-19 caused significant disruptions to health systems globally; however, restricting the family presence during birth saw an increase in women considering community birth options . This study aimed to quantify the hospital resource savings that could occur if all low-risk women in Australia gave birth at home or in birth centers .
METHODS A whole-of-population linked administrative data set containing all women (n = 44 498) who gave birth in Queensland, Australia, between 01/07/2012 and 30/06/2015 was reweighted to represent all Australian women giving birth in 2017 . A static microsimulation model of woman and infant health service resource use was created based on 2017 data . The model was comprised of a base model, representing `` current"care, and a counterfactual model, representing hypothetical scenarios where all low-risk Australian women gave birth at home or in birth centers .
RESULTS If all low-risk women gave birth at home in 2017, cesarean rates would have reduced from 13.4% to 2.7% . Similarly, there would have been 860 fewer inpatient bed days and 10.1 fewer hours of women's intensive care unit time per 1000 births . If all women gave birth in birth centers, cesarean rates would have reduced to 6.7% . In addition, over 760 inpatient bed days would have been saved along with 5.6 hours of women's intensive care unit time per 1000 births .
CONCLUSIONS Significant health resource savings could occur by shifting low-risk births from hospitals to home birth and birth center services . Greater examination of Australian women 's preferences for home birth and birth center birth models of care is needed.