Not too long ago, The Los Angeles Times ran a story related to the safety of at-home births since there has been a 20 percent increase in women giving birth at home since 2004. In the article, it included a study conducted by the journal Birth: Issues in Prenatal Care indicating that births at home make up approximately 1 percent of all births each year or about 28,400 births.
More and more, we are hearing about women who are choosing to deliver their baby at home with the aid of a doula and nurse midwife. Many women are choosing home births or natural childbirth to avoid medical interventions, caesarean sections, epidurals, or medications during the labor and birth process. Unfortunately, some women are also choosing to have a vaginal home birth after a previous C-section because a hospital does not permit vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). Sadly, home births can lead to still births, birth injuries, brain injuries, hypoxia, ischemia, seizures, neurological damage, cerebral palsy (CP), hemorrhage, uterine rupture, and even death to the mother or baby.
Even though birth is a natural process, complications can arise during labor and delivery. Some birth complications such as shoulder dystocia or a loose nucal cord around the baby's neck can be quickly and properly treated by a nurse midwife during a home birth. However, if an emergency such as a uterine rupture, placental abruption, post-partum hemorrhage, deep meconium aspiration or loss of the baby's heart rate happens, they cannot be treated by the nurse midwife and the mother and baby have to be rushed to the hospital for medical treatment. If the nurse midwife does not recognize that a mother or baby may be in danger or delays in transporting the laboring mom to the hospital, it can lead to lifelong damages or even death to both the mother and baby.
If you are planning on having a home birth with a CNM, make sure there is an emergency plan in place and a collaborative agreement with a physician who can be ready to assist at the hospital in the event of an emergency or difficult birth. You also want to know if your nurse midwife is experienced in handling emergencies during labor and delivery is going to bring oxygen and other special equipment to use just in case there is an emergency. Lastly, you need to take into consideration how far your home is from a hospital or medical center in the event that you or your baby would need to be transported for emergent care. In an emergency situation, every second counts.
Unfortunately, a low risk pregnancy can quickly turn into a high risk delivery in a matter of seconds. Our Pennsylvania birth injury lawyers here at The Beasley Firm have represented mothers and babies who have been injured during the labor and delivery process. Our experienced medical and legal birth teams consist of physicians, labor and delivery nurses and neonatal intensive care nurses that have experience with all of the possible emergency situations that can arise during the birth process. If you or your baby was injured during labor or birth, please feel free to contact a member of our birth injury team at (215) 866-2424 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.