Are home-births safe? An evidence-based answer to your question.
Home births are a hot topic these days. It is highly debated by medical professionals and professional midwives all over the country and it’s becoming more popular due to COVID-19.
Today I want to talk about home birth and give you an evidence based response as to whether or not home births are safe.
Before I dive into what the evidence has to say, I want to tell you exactly what a home birth is.
I know most people think of home birth as being a woman in a “Little House on the Prairie” type home who is giving birth while standing and biting on a strap, but it’s not.
We live in the 21st century and home birth just means giving birth at home.
Birthing at home can be planned and done with a nurse midwife, certified professional, or a lay midwife (depending on which state you live in), physician, emergency professional, or it can be completely unassisted.
Most people who give birth at home tend to have a midwife present (62%) and they have often had previous children. These individuals are also “low risk” which means that they lack indicators for possible complications and may fit into one or more of the following categories:
- The baby is full term and head down.
- The person is pregnant with a single baby and has decided to birth at home.
- The birthing person does not have any medical conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease, blood clotting disorders, type 1 diabetes, gestational diabetes that must be managed with insulin, preeclampsia, or bleeding.
- No placenta previa
- No active genital herpes outbreak
- No previous c-section (some studies show that a low transverse incision, may allow for home birth to be possible)
- No thick meconium
*Note- This is NOT an exhaustive list of what makes a person a candidate for birthing at home.
Home births are completely safe according to research studies for those who are low risk and are under the care of a qualified and licensed midwife. As with everything else, be sure to do your research BEFORE attempting to have a home birth, speak with your provider to find out if you are a good candidate, and have a consultation with a qualified and licensed midwife.
Should you choose to have a home birth, be prepared and do your best to ensure that you and your midwife have taken the time to discuss your birth, plan for possibilities of hospital transfer, and that you are educated on what type of home birth you would like to have.