Home Birth – Is It Dangerous?

Safe home births are now possible with today’s modern medicine and the capabilities of healthcare. Nearly 35,000 pregnant Americans decide to deliver their babies at home each year instead of in the hospital. Parents understandably have the right to choose a preferred place to bring their newborn into the world.

Reasons a family may decide to deliver a newborn at home can include:

  • Autonomy, or control over the birthing experience.
  • Home births can adhere to certain religious or cultural rituals that a hospital cannot achieve.
  • Delivering a baby at home is associated with fewer medical expenses and costs.

Why Home Birth Might Bring More Risk

While home births do provide a level of comfort to families welcoming a new member, parents should know there are specific risks that may come with a home birth. These risks include harm or injuries to both the mother and child. Being prepared for all possible scenarios in a birth can ensure a safer delivery.

Risks include:

  • Not preparing for every possible emergency, including the quickest possible way to an emergency room.
  • Planned home births may be associated with a higher risk of nervous system disorders, seizures, or infant death according to the Mayo Clinic.
  • Home births may not have a licensed doctor present. The doula or midwife’s training may not be sufficient to spot signs of danger or other birth complications, which can lead to injuries or other serious problems.

There are two characterizations for midwives in the U.S., certified professional midwives (CPMs) and certified nurse midwives (CNMs). Certified professional midwives (CPMs) are typically the lesser trained of the two and may lack sufficient medical education to be able to handle emergency situations. Certified nurse midwives (CNMs), on the other hand, meet a higher level of medical care standards and typically have more experience.

Who Carries Higher Risks During Home Birth?

There are certain women who carry a higher risk with at-home births. These include:

  • Mothers who have previously had C-section deliveries.
  • Women delivering twins.
  • Those with pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia.
  • Women who have been carrying the child for over 41 weeks.
  • Those with existing medical conditions such as diabetes.
  • Babies born breech or premature.

Potential Dangers to a Baby During Home Birth

If any sign of complications or other emergency situation occurs during home birth, a trustworthy person should immediately bring the mother giving birth to a hospital. Failure to act properly during a home birth emergency may result in the following infant injuries:

  • Bruising or fractures.
  • Bleeding or fracture in the skull.
  • Oxygen deprivation.
  • Brachial plexus injuries.
  • Cerebral palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, or Erb’s palsy.
  • Shoulder dystocia.
  • Death of the infant.

The most tragic of scenarios is losing a newborn child. This may occur during home birth because a midwife or doula did not follow the proper standard of baby delivery care. He or she may use equipment improperly or handle the baby incorrectly.

Those that believe their family to be a victim of improper home birth care should contact an experienced attorney for assistance during this stressful time.

What to Do If Negligence Occurs During Home Birth

A person in the Nashville area who believes a caretaker such as a midwife acted negligently by not addressing birthing complications, providing standard care for a newborn, or making a similar medical mistake, should seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Successful cases could compensate families for damages and losses regarding home births. Contact Larry R. Williams for more information on a person’s rights regarding home childbirth.