Home Births and the Risk of Birth Injury
Home births are often the center of heated debates with advocates citing a long list of benefits, while adversaries use common statistics to support the argument against. In general, home births are largely associated with a higher risk of deaths, both perinatal and neonatal.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it is estimated that about .9% of births occur at home annually, a total of about 35,000. That is less than 1% of all births across the country!
It is further estimated that 25% of these are unplanned or emergency home births, which is also at the core of the debate, as they may skew the results. Not planning for a home birth can ultimately equate to higher risks, complications and fetal mortality.
While we know there is no guarantee, even in a hospital setting – it is hard to deny the inherent risk associated with a home birth. Things can go tragically wrong, even in a hospital setting with your OB-GYN at the helm. Unfortunately however, the likelihood and ease of emergency response is simplified when already in the hospital environment.
Home Births 101
Choosing a midwife and/or a doula to help with your birth plan can be a complicated process. The laws vary, and the International Confederation of Midwives’ Global Standards for Midwifery Education is a great resource. From educational information to standards for certification, the ICM is a good baseline for a starting point of reference.
Midwives may also vary in their thought processes and practices, so it may be important to consult several before making a decision! You will also likely still want the involvement of an OB-GYN and pediatrician as well.
Commonly Cited Benefits of Home Birth:
- Historical relevance
- Less stress
- Comfortable environment
- Family / friends
- Cited lower risk of infection
- Avoiding epidural, etc.
Home Birth Criteria;
- Healthy, low risk pregnancies
- No known medical complications
- No preterm labor
- No history of birth complications
Home births are NEVER recommended for
- Fetal malpresentation
- Multiple gestation
- Prior cesarean
Unfortunately, in my career I have often seen the lack of predictability during the birthing process, and the results can be devastating.
The risks and tragic outcomes are very real;
- Stillbirth or death – Increased risk for mother and baby
- Hemorrhaging risk
- Brain injuries
- Cerebral Palsy
- Anoxic or Hypoxic Injuries
- Erb’s Palsy
- Developmental and learning impediments
Pursuing a Medical Malpractice or Birth Injury Claim
Filing a claim against a midwife is complicated. In addition, midwives may or may not be required to carry malpractice insurance which can further complicate the case. These are the three most common grounds for filing;
- False credentials / misrepresentation
- Financial motivation or negligence to ignore complications, warning signs or issues..
- Failure to have an emergency plan.
If your child has suffered a birth injury, call my offices immediately. As your Ohio birth injury attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 877.944.4373.