Bringing a baby into the world brings a lot of questions. One of the questions moms-to-be might have is if they should do a hospital birth or a home birth. While it is natural to explore your options, a hospital is the safest setting for both mom and baby. Here’s why.
Home births represent about 0.9% of deliveries in the United States. While the idea of birthing a baby in your own home can be comforting, it also comes with serious risks. Studies show that the risk of perinatal death is two times higher for home births compared to those that take place in a clinical setting. Neonatal seizures and the risk of serious neurological dysfunction is three times higher. Moms also face an increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
Another inherent risk of home birth is that not all birth attendants are properly trained, certified, or regulated. Forty of 50 states, for example, allow direct-entry midwives to practice with self-study and apprenticeship, without formal educational requirements (this profession differs from a certified nurse-midwife, who has clinical education, certification, and is regulated).
An Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN) must, at a minimum, complete four years of medical school followed by an additional four years of residency training. During their training, each physician learns to clinically manage a wide range of possible birth scenarios. Physicians must also adhere to specific regulations for licensure, board certification, continuing education, and professionalism. When an expectant mother chooses to deliver with a doctor, she has the comfort of knowing that her practitioner has the experience to address complications that could affect mom or baby as they may arise during the pregnancy.
Additionally, giving birth in a hospital provides access to further medical care in the form of equipment and professionals should they be needed.
Birthing plans do not always go according to plan and emergencies can happen quickly which is why delivering with an OB/GYN at a hospital is always the safest option. For women with high risk pregnancies and certain medical conditions, home deliveries are not an option. Another consideration is that health insurance may not cover costs associated with a homebirth or a midwife.
Talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns that you have. The physicians at WMA of Nashville are here to support you in a loving manner and assist you in the safe delivery of your newborn.