How Safe is a Home Birth?

Cynthia Flynn's picture
Experts: 

QUESTION

My first child was born at home with a midwife. He was healthy and the labor was a normal first labor. I am pregnant again six years later and I am doing medical research concerning birth.

My main concern about having another home birth is having a birth in which the chord begins to come out first. I have been told by my doctor that this is a life threatening situation which needs immediate ceasarian intervention. What is the midwife's approach to this situation?

Thanks.

ANSWER

Of course a "prolapsed cord" is a rare event, but there are many rare events that a midwife is prepared to handle. The short answer is that we do the same thing at home that we would do at the hospital: put you in knee-chest position, hold the baby's head out of the vagina, and stay that way until you are in an operating room. I have personally held the baby who was just fine using this approach; the mom didn't get her home birth and did get a cesarean, but everyone did well.

There are risks and benefits to each place you might choose for delivery. There are risks that are less likely (or basically non-existent) at the hospital and risks that are less likely (or basically non-existent) at home or a birth center.

As a good mom who is trying to evaluate her options (good for you!), you need to weigh the risks of your alternatives and then make an informed decision.

Good luck!
Cynthia