The demand for natural child birth and giving birth outside of the hospital setting is increasing in the United States. However it is a topic that remains controversial. There is no shortage of glowing stories from happy mothers of safely home birthed babies, but there are horror stories as well. Planned home births are generally considered safe for healthy women with low risk pregnancies being attended by certified nurse midwifes with a good system in place for transfer to a hospital when necessary. The question is this, what are the pros and cons of home birth? Let’s begin with assessing the risks of giving birth at home. This is difficult to do since there are not many well designed studies that have been conducted from which to cite statistics. Many statistics include births that occur outside of the hospital setting that are not planned, also home births not attended by certified midwifes that are much riskier and more likely to have a poor outcome. However this data also does not account for when planned home births become hospital births when complications arise, which leads to an underestimation of the risk and overestimation of the benefit of home birth. Home births appear to include a shorter recovery time and fewer lacerations, post-partum hemorrhages, retained placenta and infections, however it is associated with a higher neonatal mortality rate. There is also the issue of who is attending these births. There are differences in the type of midwifes.
A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is an individual trained and licensed in both nursing and midwifery. Nurse-midwives possess at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education and are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is an individual trained in midwifery who meets practice standards of the North American Registry of Midwives.
A Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM) is an independent...