Thinking About a Home Delivery Midwife? What You Need To Know
Most pregnant women in America prefer to give birth in a hospital or birthing center, attended by a licensed obstetrician. However, a small but growing number are choosing to deliver at home, attended by a midwife.
If you’re contemplating taking this road less traveled, you’ll want to understand the advantages and pitfalls. It’s best to plan in advance.
What Are the Possible Risks of a Planned Home Birth?
Women who give birth at home typically do so without complications. However, the home setting lacks many of the protections available at a hospital or birthing center. Research indicates that giving birth at home can have devastating outcomes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
For instance, home deliveries are linked to a greater risk of infant death and seizures than are those occurring in a hospital. Having a certified nurse midwife who is skilled in managing the risks associated with childbirth can make a difference.
It’s also critical for the midwife to be able to give you access to an obstetrician in case your delivery at home goes awry. It’s important to have a plan in place should you need to be transferred to the hospital.
What Might Cause the Need for a Hospital Transfer?
Even if you’ve carefully planned for a safe, comfortable delivery at home with your chosen midwife, sometimes things happen that require the resources of a hospital or birthing center.
To preserve your baby’s health and your own, the Mayo Clinic advises that these are conditions that often necessitate transfer to a higher level of care:
- Labor is prolonged, especially during the active phase of childbirth. Tests may be needed to determine the cause.
- Your baby is in distress during the delivery process. Depending on the situation, it might be necessary to take emergency action such as a C-section.
- Your baby comes through the birth canal feet first or in some other position that needs to be addressed, usually by an obstetrician.
- You planned for a natural childbirth without pain medication. However, you change your mind once delivery is under way and decide instead you want an epidural or spinal block or other invasive treatment.
- You have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. If untreated, it can impact your baby’s growth and development and spur breathing problems.
- You experience excessive bleeding during delivery. Monitoring and intervention may be required if more than two pints of blood are lost in 24 hours.
Can I Sue a Midwife for Malpractice?
Delivering your baby in the comfort of your own home, where your family and closest friends can witness the excitement, can be truly rewarding. With the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced midwife, your low-risk delivery will likely turn out fine.
On the other hand, even the finest health care practitioners, including midwives, can make a mistake – a tragic lapse in judgement that results in undue harm to you and/or your baby.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology frowns on home deliveries due to safety issues. In addition, midwives find it difficult to secure medical malpractice insurance outside a hospital or birthing center. For these reasons, it’s difficult to find a midwife delivering babies at home.
Just like any other health care provider, a midwife is subject to legal action if his or her actions – or inactions – result in serious injury to you or your baby. This would set the stage for you to file a medical malpractice claim intended to recover damages.
Ready to Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer?
If you find yourself in a circumstance like this with grave long-term consequences, know where to turn. At Bertram Law Group, our birth injury lawyers are skilled at medical malpractice cases. We are prepared to advocate for you and your family – especially your newborn baby.
Contact us now. Your initial consultation is free, fully confidential and without obligation. Let’s discuss your rights under the law and weigh all the options that are open to you.