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Are home births safe for mother and baby?

If you are pregnant, you and your partner may decide that you want to give birth at home. After all, it's where you feel the most at ease and comfortable, so you want your baby to enter the world right there.

But you also have to balance that desire with the safety of your plan. While it may still be possible to have a home birth, your decision must be well thought out to succeed.

Most home births include supervision by a doula or midwife. The parents should also include a backup plan in case the situation gets critical quickly.

But you should also be aware that, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there are some situations where home births are never recommended, including when:

  • Your baby is likely to be born in the breech position
  • You will be delivering more than one baby
  • You delivered by C-section in the past

Even when those conditions don't apply, things could change during labor and bring about the need for a transfer to a hospital, such as:

  • Rise in maternal blood pressure
  • Labor doesn't readily progress
  • Signs of fetal distress
  • You need relief from pain
  • The baby's position shifts
  • You begin to bleed more than normally

You should also be aware that statistics indicate that babies born in home births have a higher rate of infant seizures and mortality than those born in hospital settings.

All home births ideally will have a certified nurse-midwife present to supervise and access to an obstetrician. There also needs to be a workable plan to get the mother and baby immediately to a hospital if complications develop.

Should professional medical negligence result in death or damage to your infant during the birthing process, you still may be able to seek compensation even when the birth of your baby occurred at home.

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