American Academy of Pediatrics: Respect Women’s Home Birth Choice

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newbornBy Staff Blogger
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), having a baby at home is considered to be a safe alternative to giving birth in the hospital, if certain conditions are met.

The AAP said, in a policy statement, that women who want to have their baby at home, Planned Home Birthing, should also be supported. They say that a certified midwife, nurse/midwife or doctor should always be present during the birth to help in case of emergency and that previous arrangements should be made to get the woman to a nearby hospital, should the need arise.

Apparently only 1% of all births in the United States are done at home, according to the AAP Committee on Fetus and Newborns. They also state that this percentage has been increasing slightly over the past years, for white women.

Dr. Kristi Watterberg, who is the lead author of the policy statement of the AAP and a pediatrician and neonatologist at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, said “The experience of having a baby is very different at home than it might be in a birthing center or a hospital.”

She went on to say that the AAP try to support all systems of childbirth as long as it makes the chances of survival of the baby more secure.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) seems to agree with the statement of the AAP. In a 2011 committee opinion, the ACOG said that it respects the decision of a woman to decide where she will give birth, if that decision is medically informed.

American College of Nurse-Midwives, Board of Directors member, Mairi Rothman, a midwife, said that not enough information is given out as to the risk that can be involved when a baby is delivered in the hospital.

Rothman said that the risk of having a cesarean section is much greater if you choose to give birth in hospital. She added that more women also have anesthesia while giving birth in hospital.

Rothman went on to say that with home-birthing there is no risk of getting a hospital-acquired infection or of getting your baby mixed up with another baby.

Rothman added that she takes all the necessary equipment with her during home births. She takes equipment that is found in the hospital, including oxygen, sutures, IV set-up and recovery equipment, in case of an emergency.

There are some occasions however, where giving birth at home might not be a good idea, such as if the woman lives too far from a hospital. In case of emergency or if the birth is multiple, or if weather conditions might prevent getting emergency treatment, home births may not be the best idea, said Watterberg.

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