Doctors and Home Births

Venessa resting between contractions


Home birth isn’t just a novelty anymore. An increasing number of couples are choosing to bring their baby into the world the way that human beings have through most of history: at home. Some people may not understand the choice, believing that a home birth removes all of the benefits of modern medicine from the birthing process.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however. A home birth today isn’t like it was in the 17th century. Today, even the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines on the care of newborn babies in the home environment.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have also offered some support to the home birth movement. While the organization states that hospitals and birthing centers are indeed still the safest places to give birth, it’s up to a woman to decide how she wants to help her little one greet the world.

Here are some of the general principles espoused by the various groups, as it relates to home births and medical care:

  • At least one person in the delivery room should have care for the mother as their primary responsibility. Another person should have care for the newborn baby as their primary responsibility.
  • The individuals in the delivery room don’t need to meet specific credentialed requirements, but they do need to have the ability and the necessary equipment to perform resuscitation if it is necessary in the course of the birth.
  • There should always be clear plans for an emergency. This includes plans for safe and timely transit to a local medical facility, particularly one that has an arrangement in place for emergency transfers.
  • A transfer to a hospital from a home birth doesn’t mean a failure on the part of those involved in labor and delivery, but rather that the system put into place to protect mother and baby is working.

In an ideal world, medical providers and hospitals would all be better prepared to address the issues that surround home births. Indeed, in many areas, these medical professionals are increasingly recognizing the choice to give birth at home and doing what they can to support it.

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