Home Birth vs Hospital: Safe Birthing Options for the New Mom

Giving birth in the safety and security of the hospital environment is the best way to ensure safety for a mother-to-be and her newborn.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published an opinion in February 2011 that, although the absolute risk of planned home births is low, published medical evidence shows that planned home birth does carry a two-to-three fold increase in the risk of newborn death compared with planned hospital births.

Even though most births go smoothly, obstetrical/neonatal complications such as placental abruption, breech presentation, eclampsia, hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia or unexpected neonatal complications cannot be attended to as quickly at a home or birthing center, risking the mother and/or baby’s life.

By choosing to deliver in a place not set up to deal with emergencies, a woman does not take advantage of the full availability of life-saving medical technology. This is, of course, the woman’s choice. However, she should not feel pressured by cost or lack of medical insurance, or by social sub-culture norms to deliver at home.

A woman may not know all the dangers that can happen during birth, whereas her obstetrician will have seen thousands of births and many complications of delivery.

By speaking with her experienced obstetrician about her expectations and desires for delivery, a woman should be able to arrive at a joint understanding and plan that balances the safety of everyone involved with the mother’s preferences and wishes.