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Rise in at-home births sparks revision of safety standards

Although a vast majority of women still choose to give birth in a hospital setting, the last several years have been witness to a surge in the number of pre-planned births at home. In response to this growing trend, the American Academy of Pediatrics has created a new set of safety criteria to mitigate the risk of birth injuries, which may be of interest to North Carolina residents looking into at-home birth.

Doctors cannot require patients to pursue one birthing option over another, but they know that in-home birthing can and should be just as safe as the alternatives. According to a study, planned at-home births are at least two times as likely to result in infant death when compared to hospital births. This startling statistic may be explained by the fact that only 25 percent of home births are administered by certified medical professionals.

One of the best recommendations the doctors gave was to seek out a certified nurse midwife. These individuals have the training necessary to properly handle the delicate birthing process and respond to any complications.

Furthermore, it’s suggested that women should only consider giving birth at home if everything appears to be “normal” with their pregnancy. For example, a mother expecting twins or with pre-existing health conditions may be best served in a hospital.

Of course, parents can only take so many precautions. Even if parents take all the right steps to ensure that the birth of their child goes as planned, there is still room for error. Certified midwives or obstetricians can and do make mistakes. In the event of a mistake, parents deserve to know their rights and responsibilities under North Carolina’s medical malpractice laws.

Source: amednews.com, “Pediatricians offer newborn care standards for home births,” Kevin B. O’Reilly, May 13, 2013

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