Are Out-of-Hospital Births Safe?
Is it safe to deliver out of the hospital?
This is a common question for expectant mothers and families to ask. Many people haven’t heard about the benefits of an out-of-hospital birth, nor have they even thought of it as an option. For healthy, low-risk pregnancies, births outside of a hospital do offer a safe alternative to the typically expensive and intervention-heavy maternity care system.
The midwifery model of care for births taking place in a home or birth center emphasizes personal attention and focuses on individual needs and preferences. It includes longer prenatal visits and continuous support from a midwife throughout labor, as well as home visits and support in the postpartum period.
Midwives complete extensive training to provide safe care to expectant moms and their babies. The level of care a birth center or home birth provides is just as high (if not higher) than hospital births due to the individualized attention and valuable time that is dedicated to each person. Furthermore, research studies have shown that a planned, out-of-hospital birth with a midwife leads to fewer interventions and complications for both the mother and the baby. The chances of having a cesarean birth are greatly reduced out of the hospital (6-7% compared to 32.6% at our local hospital).
According to Healthy Birth Practice #4: Avoid Interventions Unless They are Medically Necessary by The Journal of Perinatal Education, being confined to a bed with continuous fetal monitoring, artificially breaking the waters, and a routine use of Pitocin and epidurals cause the majority of complications related to childbirth in the hospital. These often unnecessary hospital interventions disturb the normal physiology of labor and birth; avoiding them can aid you in achieving a safe and uncomplicated delivery.
Benefits of an Out-of-Hospital Birth
- Personalized Care
In addition to the regular prenatal appointments, routine labs, and ultrasound referrals, education classes and other resources are an important part of care. Celebrate Birth offers prenatal and therapeutic massage to our clients and the community, and we work closely with our non-profit partner The Nest who offers lactation consultations and classes to help with birth and the postpartum period.
- Natural Birth Options
Midwives are supportive of natural childbirth. We like to let the woman guide her labor and feel empowered through being an active participant in her pregnancy and childbirth experience. During labor that includes options like staying mobile and upright, resting in bed or on the couch, using different positions and pain relief techniques, staying hydrated and nourished by drinking and eating (as opposed to intravenously), and more.
- Help From a Hospital Nearby
Birth centers have relationships with nearby hospitals so that if or when transfers are necessary, they can go smoothly and in a timely manner. At Celebrate Birth, we have an excellent working relationship with Lakeland Regional Health Center and our birth center is located just minutes away. For clients interested in a home delivery instead, the place of birth must be within a safe driving distance to a nearby hospital. Fortunately, emergency transfers very rarely happen in our practice due to the vigilant and proactive care our midwives provide.
For more on out-of-hospital births, check out our FAQ page where we answer other important questions surrounding our model of care.