Childbirth: Home Birth

ealth Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about how doctors can intervene when childbirth becomes complicated. Some women like the idea of giving birth at home in a nurturing, non-clinical environment, but doing this requires planning – and it isn’t for everyone.

Women with low-risk pregnancies may give birth safely at home with a physician or certified nurse-midwife present, but they still need to make backup plans. Dr. Patricia Santiago-Munoz, an obstetrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says timing is everything if something goes wrong, so you need to be able to get to a hospital quickly. Some risk factors that would rule out a home delivery include twins, breech presentation, high blood pressure, a post-term delivery or a previous cesarean section. The real risk from home delivery is to the infant. The death rate for home deliveries is three times that of hospital deliveries due to complications that can only be dealt with in a hospital.

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September 2011

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