Home birth vs. hospital. It's a heated debate among moms.
Many can't imagine delivering a baby anywhere other than a delivery room with an army of doctors and nurses at the ready, while the other side wouldn't even consider that sterile, cold environment.
Well, the death of an Australian newborn during a water delivery should have home advocates questioning how safe that choice really is. After an investigation, a coroner concluded that the lack of professional medical care contributed to the baby's death.
The mother, Janet Fraser, a very vocal home birth activist, had called her previous hospital cesarean "birth rape" and her second child was born safely at home, though Frasier had to be rushed to the hospital with a uterine hemorrhage. Her third, however, had tragic complications. Minutes after birth, the baby girl died when the cord became tangled around her neck and no one had the medical expertise to deal with it.
Even after this heartbreak, Fraser stood by her decision. "There are no risk-free options and I choose the option with which I was comfortable," she said.
She's right. Things can go wrong no matter where you deliver. Though, the risks of a home birth seem so much greater to me. Now, I am not dismissing the choice, which has become hugely popular in the US (1 in 90 babies are born that way). There are even stats showing the percentage of home births that were preterm was 6 percent, compared with 12 percent for hospital births. They had lower percentages for low birth weight babies as well. But experts say the reason for the difference is because women who chose this option typically have low-risk pregnancies in the first place.
And though Fraser did not have a midwife, most women opt for one, which certainly makes things safer. But that still does not compare to the medical expertise or life-saving equipment a delivery ward has, does it?
Anyone who has had a baby knows it is not always a smooth, simple process. I've listened to the arguments that hospitals are only interested in profits and do all they can to add up charges. But honestly, isn't that cost worth having a healthy newborn in your arms?
Do you think a home birth is just as safe as delivering in a hospital?
Image via Seattleye/Flickr
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