Weigh pros, cons before deciding on home birth

Women contemplating a home birth should consider ways to curb the medical risks, according to the latest recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“The main thing is to make sure you have a low-risk pregnancy and that you have a physician or a certified nurse-midwife present,” says Dr. Patricia Santiago-Munoz, an obstetrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Also essential is having a back-up plan to get to the hospital quickly if required. “Timing is everything when something goes wrong,” Dr. Santiago-Munoz says.

Women with high-risk factors should not attempt at-home delivery. These include hypertension, carrying twins, a breech presentation or being post-term (more than 42 weeks gestation). Women with a previous Caesarian section delivery should not undergo a birth at home due to the risk of uterine rupture.

At-home births are more risky for the newborn as well. Serious complications that could be addressed in a hospital environment result in an overall home-birth death rate three times that of hospital deliveries. 

 “Really, the risk you’re taking is for the child,” Dr. Santiago-Munoz says. “I think what most moms want is a healthy baby, no matter where or how it’s born.”

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/obgyn to learn more about clinical services for obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern, including high-risk pregnancy.

Media Contact: Robin Russell

Return to March 2011 News Tips

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