New News About The Safety of Home Birth
Home birth is on the rise in the United States.
In 2014, over 30,000 women delivered at home, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites as the “highest recorded number since 1989,” when they began tracking home birth statistics.
But while home birth may be a more popular option than ever before, many people still wonder about its safety for both mother and baby.
Nikki Addimando is one such mother, who chose home birth after having her first baby in a traditional hospital setting.
“It just didn't feel right or natural for me. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but the thought of going to the hospital, delivering a baby, and leaving my son at home wasn't even something I wanted to entertain,” Addimando said on her sister's blog of her decision to deliver at home the second time around.
“In a typical ‘low-risk' pregnancy, I realized that there is no reason to invade the woman's body,” she continued. “It's now the baby's home, and as long as everything is progressing as it should, my midwives believed and taught me that was enough to trust. Women have been doing this forever, and they will continue to do this forever. We are so much more capable than we realize. It's pretty amazing, actually.”
As a former labor and delivery nurse, I feel like most of the response from the medical community on home birth has been to pretty much shoot it down or pretend it doesn't exist. Like a doctor once told me during an interview, “pizza deliveries are for home, not babies.”
But the numbers don't lie, and home births aren't going away. And for the first time, the medical community is taking a closer look and — shocker — listening to what women are saying about the choices they want for their own health and that of their babies.
A new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the rising trend of home births in the United States and described it as a “complex” issue. As the study explained, while many fear home birth, women who choose home birth are actually less at risk for bad outcomes with their babies' births, but that's because women who are candidates for home birth are low-risk to start out with.
It's a hard question to answer because, basically, home birth statistics can look skewed because if you have a lot of low-risk women giving birth at home, you are going to have fewer adverse outcomes than if you took a bunch of high-risk women and had them give birth at home, too. Makes sense, right?
But I think that women are speaking, and the studies that show that women with low risks may actually be safer at home with midwives will continue to roll in.
And until then?
“Births are inherently unpredictable events, and an unexpected complication without a planned, quick route to a hospital can have tragic consequences,” the study's authors concluded.
Have you had or considered a home birth?