Home birth: Who shouldn't consider it?

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Home birth: Who shouldn't consider it?

Question

My wife is pregnant with our second child. She is interested in exploring the option of home birth, but this makes me very nervous because she had problems with high blood pressure in her first pregnancy. What do you think?

Manuel
Texas

Answer

I agree with you. The idea of home birth makes me very nervous, too.

A planned home birth assisted by a trained midwife may result in a normal delivery and healthy child. But unexpected problems can and do arise that threaten the life of the mother or child. In addition, certain medical conditions during pregnancy can increase the risk of serious complications during childbirth, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic or gestational high blood pressure
  • Any chronic condition that requires medication
  • Preeclampsia
  • Any bleeding during pregnancy
  • Preterm labor
  • A history of postpartum bleeding
  • Prior C-section
  • First labor after age 35
  • Fetal growth abnormalities

Since your wife had high blood pressure during her first pregnancy (gestational high blood pressure), she is probably not a good candidate for home birth. High blood pressure during pregnancy increases the risk of serious complications, such as preterm labor and placental abruption.

In October 2006, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement saying a hospital or a birthing center within a hospital is the safest setting for labor, delivery and immediate postpartum monitoring.

Last Updated: 04/30/2007
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