As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact on people’s lives, women expecting to give birth face unique concerns of their own. They are unsure whether they should attend prenatal appointments or have their baby in a hospital setting or 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 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, many 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 if 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 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, so many mothers are considering home births because they are worried about contracting the coronavirus inside the hospital. The risk of this, however, is shallow. Just as in pre-pandemic days, the room is still sanitized before 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 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, a healthcare professional’s risk of becoming infected while in a hospital’s labor and delivery area is shallow.
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 attorney to discuss your right to file a birth injury malpractice claim.