Are Home Births Safe?
Although it is an ongoing and controversial debate, the decision to have a home birth or hospital birth is a personal one. It's a decision that is based on a number of factors, including:
- The health of the mother and unborn child
- Understanding the potential risks and benefits of each available birth site
- Determining transport methods if complications require immediate transfer to a hospital.
Also, finding an experienced and qualified midwife who can help answer questions and guide you through the process can help you determine if a home birth is right for you. The research has shown that the optimal outcomes associated with home births include those where there was a qualified maternity care provider assisting with the birth.
Childbirth comes with potential risks, both for the mother and the baby. Although healthcare providers can help distinguish some of the risk factors before labor and delivery, it's impossible to predict whether certain complications may occur. However, if a woman really wants to have a home birth, she may be willing to accept a small amount of risk.
The safety of birth in any setting is the highest priority. However, without being able to know the future, it's hard to predict what would be the best situation for you and your family. The decision of having a home birth or a hospital birth is one only you can make. The best way to make that decision is to educate yourself on the possible risks you may have with each birth setting and then determine which setting would fit better with your needs and wants for your birthing experience (see Considering Home Birth).