Is having a birth out-of-hospital SAFE?
Study after study has shown that planned homebirths with trained midwives are safe for both mothers and their babies—some studies have even shown them to be safer! There is less chance of infection, intervention, hemorrhage and tearing. Breastfeeding rates are higher, and babies are breastfed longer. Satisfaction with the birth is greater. For low-risk women, having your baby out of a hospital is safe.
I bring with me to every birth assistants to make sure there are enough hands in case of an emergency situation. All of my assistants, as well as myself, maintain certification in Neonatal Resuscitation and CPR for Healthcare Providers. I bring anti-hemorrhagic drugs, IV set-up, oxygen, antibiotics, catheters and all the equipment needed to handle emergency situations. Before your birth, we will have in place a transport agreement, just in case. If we need to go to the hospital during your labor, someone will accompany you and provide support. You will not be left alone.
Midwifery training is specifically designed to care for low-risk women during the NATURAL process of birth. If at any time, during pregnancy or labor, you are no longer in the category of low-risk, you care will be referred to a physician who can handle your specific problem.
The World Health Organization has said that there is no proof that hospital births are safer than home births in the developed world. Most of the research on home births in the developed world has found that infant and maternal mortality rates are the same for out-of-hospital births, if not better, than hospital rates. There is also significantly reduced chance of a woman having a cesarean, induced labor, or of the need for a vacuum.
What are some of the benefits of giving birth out of the hospital?
- You are in your own space where you are comfortable and relaxed
- Your midwives are there for YOU ONLY, you are not sharing caregivers with others laboring at the same time as you
- You have the same caregivers throughout your pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum
- You choose who you want to be with you during your labor and birth– family members, friends or just your partner
- You maintain control over everything impacting your labor and birth. You are not only allowed, but encouraged to eat, drink, walk, change positions, make noise, shower, bathe, etc.
- You can labor and birth in whatever position is most comfortable to you—even in the water if that is your desire
- Your caregivers come to YOU, no worries about when to go to hospital. If you choose birth center birth and you arrive too soon, you can easily leave again.
- Significantly reduced risk of Cesarean section
Having your baby in your own home where your body is used to the environment significantly reduces risk of infection for both mother and baby, and birth centers are not subject to the hospital-based “super-bugs”.
Specific Benefits to Baby
- Bonding is enhanced
- Significantly higher rates of breastfeeding success
- No risk of baby mix-up
- Less chance of infection
- Reduced chance of birth trauma
- Newborn exam occurs on mother and baby’s time, not at hospital’s convenience
- The baby is not removed from the mother’s side unless she desires
Am I a good candidate for an Out-of-Hospital Birth?
The vast majority of women are good candidates for out-of-hospital birth. A healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise, are important, but so is having a positive outlook about the birthing process and a willingness to reduce stress in your life. Ask yourself these questions about your beliefs about the human body and the process of birth, and if you answer yes to most of these, you owe it to both yourself and your baby to consider an out-of-hospital birth!
Are you a healthy person? Is this pregnancy low-risk?
Do you want a low-intervention, natural birth?
Are you educated about your body and birth?
Do you want to make decisions about your birth?
Are you comfortable having control of decisions if you have a knowledgeable supportive professional to help educate you?
Can you trust yourself to make the best decision for you and your baby if you are given enough information?
Internet Resources on Safety of Out-of-Hospital birth:
- CPM 2000 Study Summary: Planned Home Births are Safe – Fact Sheet http://www.mothersnaturally.org/resources/CPM2000.pdf
- CPM 2000 Study – CfM Press Release – Press Release http://cfmidwifery.org/Resources/item.aspx?ID=85
- Making Normal Birth a Reality, UK Consensus Statement from the Maternity Care Working Group http://www.mothersnaturally.org/pdfs/UKNormalBirthDocument.pdf
- US Homebirths Increase 29%, 1990 – 2009, U.S. Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db84.htm
- British Medical Journal http://www.bmj.com/content/330/7505/1416.full?ehom
- World Health Organization http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/midwifery/en/
- Canadian Medical Association Journal http://www.cmaj.ca/content/181/6-7/377.abstract