Having a baby at home is the most common place worldwide, to give birth. The World Health Organization (WHO), recognizes home births with hospital back up, as a good option for low risk women. Despite that acceptance, home births are still considered unconventional in the U.S. However, many women across the country and in North Carolina are considering a home birth as a viable option to deliver their babies.
To date, a midwife is not legally able to practice and deliver a baby at a home birth, unless she has the support of and works in conjunction with a physician. A woman can legally give birth any place she likes however, making home birth a somewhat confusing option. Finding doctors who are willing work with midwives in a home environment can often be difficult, as many are reluctant to leave a hospital environment because of legal and malpractice issues.
While some doctors and associations support this movement, others are moving quickly to denounce it all together. The American Medical Association (AMA) has adopted a new resolution calling for legislation to establish hospitals and hospital birthing centers as the “safest setting” for labor, delivery and post partum recovery. The Holistic Moms Network (HMN), a national, non-profit organization with 130 chapters nationwide, denounces Resolution 205 and calls it “an attempt to eradicate home birth”.
Midwives are legal to support births in a hospital setting with a physician present. Hospital births remain the number one choice for delivery in the U.S. According to a Chicago Tribune article, hospital-related germs are the fourth leading cause of death in the country, a statistic that is often quoted by home birth advocates. Another article found on NorthCarolinaHomebirth.com states there are currently 25 known pathogens that are completely resistant to antibiotics, with most of them found in hospitals.
Most parents choose to deliver in hospital in North Carolina. The statistics on the increase of induction and c-section births in this state that occur in hospital are of concern to home birth advocates, as are the complications that arise from having these types of deliveries. Statistics show that almost 20% of women in North Carolina were induced, with 26% of women having c-section births. The WHO suggests any rates for c-section above 15% indicates an improper use of the procedure.
Despite a growing movement toward home birth, it remains a choice that is limited in availability. If Resolution 205 is passed into legislation, it might not be a choice at all.