About 1% of all American childbirths occur in a home or in a birth center and research finds that there are some factors that make a home birth extremely risky.
Many women prefer to give birth outside of a typical hospital setting. These births can occur at home or in a birth center. A birth center is a separate facility within a health care system that involves midwives, and sometimes even doctors. Some birth centers may be located within a hospital.
Whether in home births or birth center deliveries, the focus is on making the actual birth as natural as possible. In fact, the popularity of birth centers is related to the fact that most women, while they do want the birth to be as natural as possible, also want access to medical care if there’s an emergency during the labor or delivery.
Some women may have a higher medical risk during pregnancy, but still have positive outcomes in a home birth. Data indicates that overweight and older women may have a higher risk during pregnancy, but are still overall likely to have positive outcomes in both home birth or birth center settings. However, there are still situations in which women may suffer from risk factors that may pose a health hazard in a home birth setting.
For instance, women who are at risk of a breech delivery may actually have worse outcomes when they try to deliver a baby at home, rather than in the hospital. A breech delivery involves a baby being born feet first. This can mean severe complications. The baby may suffer serious injuries if emergency medical attention isn’t given immediately. Similarly, women who are trying to have their first natural birth after earlier having had a Cesarean section may find that their outcomes are worse in a home birth. In fact, research indicates that the chances of fetal death are up to 8 to 10 times higher in the case of a home delivery, when women had these risk factors to deal with.
Home birth proponents believe that women who have a very low risk for medical complications during labor and delivery can consider a home or birth center delivery as long as they are under the supervision of a midwife, and have easy and quick access to a hospital, if necessary. However, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists links home deliveries with a higher risk of fetal death and a greater risk of maternal injury.
The birth of a baby is a joyous occasion but can also be one that is fraught with risks and the possibility of complications. When a labor or delivery goes terribly wrong there’s a risk of a childbirth injury that can not only leave the baby with fatal injuries or long-term disability, but also endanger the health of the mother.
The Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP represent families, mothers and babies who have suffered childbirth injuries as a result of medical negligence across Indiana.