Many expecting women are thinking about a home birth due to the pandemic. However, hospitals are still the safest place for most labor and deliveries.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact on people’s lives, women expecting to give birth are facing unique concerns of their own. They are unsure of whether they should attend prenatal appointments, or whether they should have their baby in a hospital setting or at home. In fact, there has been a significant increase in Internet users searching for how to have a home birth since the pandemic hit. Even in these uncertain times, medical experts continue to agree that a hospital or a birthing center is the safest place to have a baby.
Today, the vast majority of women choose to give birth in a hospital setting. Still, there are many who choose to give birth at home. Regardless of the location chosen, a trained medical professional, such as a midwife, doula, or doctor should always be present in case complications arise. Even then, home births are not appropriate for every pregnancy.
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), home births are only appropriate for low-risk births. Mothers carrying non-multiple babies that are properly positioned, and who are delivering between 37 and 41 weeks, are the only women who should have a home birth. Even in these instances, experts say that home births are a calculated risk. These recommendations remain true during the coronavirus pandemic.
Of course, the reason so many mothers are considering home births is because they are worried about contracting the coronavirus inside the hospital. The risk of this, however, is very low. Just as in pre-pandemic days, the room is still sanitized prior to a new patient entering, and the utmost care is taken to ensure patients are protected from the risk of germs.
Even though some areas are experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), this is a bigger concern for hospital workers than it is for patients. Also, the healthcare professionals providing care on maternity wards are not the same people caring for patients in the emergency room. For those reasons, the risk of becoming infected by a healthcare professional while in the labor and delivery area of a hospital is very low.
While the pandemic has certainly sparked more interest in home births, it is also important that expectant women understand that home births require a great deal of planning. Among other things, home births require delivery equipment, and plans must be made in case there is a complication or emergency during labor or delivery.
Home births do have benefits, but one has to remember that hospitals are still considered the safest place to give birth, even during this extraordinary time. Women who want to have a home birth should speak to their doctor or midwife and create a comprehensive plan that maximizes the likelihood of a safe delivery.
Your Birth Plan
Whether you choose to give birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home, the professionals who help you deliver your child should all be licensed. Your birthing plan should be clearly communicated to these individuals.
Birth injures occur in 28,000 babies a year. This breaks down to 75 birth injuries a day. And many of these birth injuries are preventable. When a preventable birth injury happens, hospitals, doctors, birthing centers and others involved can be held liable for their medical errors. Contact an experienced birth injury attorneyto discuss your right to file a birth injury malpractice claim.