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Pediatrician Group Issues Home Birth Policy Statement
Date:4/29/2013

e said: "A woman planning a home birth has a lot of due diligence to take care of that she doesn't have to worry about in the hospital, like making sure the correct equipment is there, that the staffing is there and qualified.

"I understand where women are coming from. A hospital birth can become very medicalized and women feel a loss of control, but I'm nervous about home births. Too many simple things can turn into disasters at home. Even in low-risk women, things can go wrong. Then you may be 20 minutes from the hospital, and it's another 15 minutes once you get to the hospital before you can get the baby out in an emergency," explained Bernstein, who acknowledged that he treats high-risk pregnancies, so he tends to see more complicated births.

"I'd like to see a middle ground. I'd like to see more birthing centers associated with hospitals. Bring the home birth movement to a setting that feels more like home, but is attached to the hospital," he said.

But, he added, "In a low-risk woman, who can set it up properly, home birth shouldn't be outlawed. A woman can have the choice to have her baby at home."

The full policy statement is published online April 29 and will appear in the May print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

More information

Learn more about home births from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

SOURCES: Kristi Watterberg, M.D., professor, division of neonatology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Peter Bernstein, M.D., MPH, maternal-fetal medicine specialist, and director, perinatal safety program, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; May 2013, Pediatrics


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