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How safe are home births?

Some women look at home births as a more positive experience than delivering in the hospital. However, home births are associated with a number of risks, and these risks can put the health of the baby and mother in jeopardy. WebMD offers the following information about home births so you can determine whether this option is right for you and your baby. 

The first step is to determine whether you're a good candidate for a home birth. Only women who are in good health and expected to have uncomplicated pregnancies are recommended for this procedure. Women who've had C-sections in the past, those delivering multiples, and those with health conditions like diabetes are encouraged to give birth within a hospital or medical clinic. While the presence of a trained midwife can reduce the risk of complications, there is no substitute for professional medical care when births are complicated.

Even when circumstances are ideal, keep in mind that babies delivered at home have a higher risk of detrimental effects than when delivered at a hospital. For example, research shows that home births are associated with a two to three times greater risk of a baby dying immediately after delivery. Giving birth to babies at home also results in more complications, including poor pulse rate. Even if you have a contingency plan to visit a hospital if issues arise, it will take longer to receive emergency care than if you were already at the hospital. 

The increase in hospital births was integral in the decrease of infant mortality rates, according to NPR. Additionally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends all women give birth at a hospital or clinic for the safest possible experience. Keep in mind that approximately 23% to 37% of women who attempt home birth end up going to a hospital during the process due to complications. 

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