Home-births Can Result in Future Disability to the Child
Published : 2014-01-24
Author : BMJ-British Medical Journal - Contact: Stephanie Burns - sburns@Bmj.com - Ph. 44-020-738-36920
Synopsis* : Homebirth may expose the child to unreasonable risk of potentially life changing disability for benefits that may be comparatively small.
Main DigestRisk of future disability to child should 'weigh heavily' in birthplace decisions - Safety of home-birth has focused on risk of death; moms-to-be poorly informed of other issues.
Defined as an attended or an unattended childbirth in a non-clinical setting, typically using natural childbirth methods, that takes place in a residence rather than in a hospital or a birth center, and usually attended by a midwife or lay attendant with expertise in managing home births. Women who are unassisted or only attended by a lay person, perhaps their spouse, family, friend, or a non-professional birth attendant, are sometimes called free-births.
The risk of future long term disability to the child should "weigh heavily" in decisions about whether to give birth at home or in hospital, argue leading ethicists in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
Women should, of course, be free to choose where they want to give birth, insist Oxford University ethicist Professor Julian Savulescu and obstetrician and gynecologist Associate Professor Lachlan de Crespigny of the University of Melbourne.
But to date, the arguments around the safety of home-birth have focused on the risk of death, ignoring the possibility of long term disability to the future child an equally relevant consideration, they argue.
As a result, women and their partners may be poorly informed of all the potential risks they could be taking by choosing a home-birth, they say.
There is comparatively little evidence on the long term outcomes of children born at home. And this is a deficit that needs to be addressed, to ensure that both women and their doctors are better informed, argue both authors in an accompanying podcast.
But the available research indicates that there are "a number of reasons to be concerned," they say in the podcast, as they point to increased risks of death, disability, and admission to neonatal intensive care compared with hospital births.
If complications arise during birth, it is vital that mother and baby can access immediate medical expertise to ensure the long term wellbeing of both, they say.
Even small delays can be crucial and have lifelong implications. And inevitably, there will be few resources available to pick up and manage these complications at home, they point out.
"When a baby is injured during childbirth, the full extent of the harm is often not obvious until years later," they warn, adding: "Actions taken today that cause harm in the future are as wrong as if that harm were realized today."
The authors acknowledge that hospital births are not without their own risks, and that home-birth is often seen as a more natural and less interventionist alternative.
"However, labor and delivery is a time of high risk, and home-birth may expose the future child to unreasonable risk of potentially life-changing disability for benefits that may be comparatively small," they argue.
In the podcast, Professor Savulescu argues strongly that hospitals need to do far more to make their environments more attractive and acceptable to women, while healthcare professionals should ensure that mums to be are fully informed of the potential risks of a home-birth.
You're reading Disabled World. Be sure to check out our homepage for further informative disability news, reviews, disability sports events, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Related Pregnancy Documents
- 1 - Vitamin D May be Key for Pregnant Women with PCOS : Penn study shows women with infertility due to PCOS have a significantly decreased likelihood of successful pregnancy if they are vitamin D deficient.
- 2 - Aspirin Reduces Risk of Pre-Eclampsia in Pregnant Women : Clinical trial finds administering low-dose aspirin (150 mg) led to reduction in rate of pre-term preeclampsia, resulting in delivery before 37 weeks.
- 3 - Controversial 3 Parent Baby IVF Genetic Details Revealed : Hope for families with inheritable mitochondrial disorders as details of IVF technique using mitochondrial replacement therapy released.
- 4 - Study Reveals Pregnant Women Should Avoid Liquorice : Study reveals women should avoid consuming large amounts of liquorice during pregnancy.
- 5 - Antidepressants During Pregnancy Associated with Childhood Language Disorders : Research reveals mothers who purchased antidepressants during pregnancy had increased risk of language disorders among their offspring compared to mothers with depression not treated with antidepressants.
*Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World. View our Advertising Policy for further information. Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.
Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: BMJ-British Medical Journal. Electronic Publication Date: 2014-01-24. Title: Home-births Can Result in Future Disability to the Child, Source: <a href=https://www.disabled-world.com/health/female/pregnancy/homebirth.php>Home-births Can Result in Future Disability to the Child</a>. Retrieved 2021-05-07, from https://www.disabled-world.com/health/female/pregnancy/homebirth.php - Reference: DW#447-10062.