Is homebirth safe?

What are the risks of birthing at home?

First thing first- Birth is normal.

And when everything goes normal...

Then obviously a woman's body can birth safely on its own in her home, on her deck, in the woods, in a car, beneath a table, behind a bed, or anywhere else Dr.Seuss would list with rhyme and reason. 

So, that would mean undisturbed birth is safest, and home would be the most undisturbed place.

...but it is also normal to need some help. 

And so choosing a skilled midwife is important. 

This is very important, actually. 

You will be trusting us to guide you in decisions, monitor your wellbeing, and respond to emergencies.

So, safety is dictated by :

  • Your risk factors
  • Your progression
  • Your midwife's ability to pick up problems
  • Your midwife's skills
  • Your access to tertiary care



Don't skip these important things...

Don't shop for midwives  to find that one that accepts your risk factors when others have declined you. Don't skip routine screening tests. Do the glucose screening- it's super important to not grow babies in high blood sugar! Exercise and eat well, because unhealthy placentas are not safe. That also means you high-stress mommas need to get your chill on, because cortisol is equally harmful to growing babies and placentas. Dont' skip the anatomy ultrasound, because babies with problems deserve extra help. And if you measure small or large, or go past 41 weeks, get that extra monitoring . BTW, have that baby before 42 weeks- accept our tricks to get that labor rolling, because risks due legitimately increase after 41 weeks, ok? It's not a myth, but we can certainly discuss that reasonably instead of scaring you like "pitocin at 40 weeks is the only safe way!" No dear, we will not just throw one study at you, but give you a large data of information, which includes legitimate points from all sides. 

Isn't that kinda a lot? Oh, but there is so much more.

Don't you think it'd be nice to be guided through this? 

Please don't "freebirth," okay? Thanks.

What about those things that say homebirth isn't safe? 

  1. Data from the United States is really crummy because we don't have a good system for integrating, regulating or screening for homebirth candidates. I agree that we have a lot of unsafe homebirthing happening in the US, much in part because of this system of exclusion from the medical system and lack of standards. So, is our data worse than european countries, yes, legitimately. That's why I'm saying, be safe! 
  2. Many of the reports are using data collected from birth certificates, which may have been unplanned home deliveries, or planned home deliveries that ended at hospitals. 
  3. Not everything is predictable, and therefore an event could occur outside the hospital that would have been better managed inside a hospital. This is a legit point, but most people writing these things have no experience in attending normal births in normal settings, and definitely, the hospital brings healthcare workers to operate from places of fear because of all those reasons Ricki Lake talked about in Business of Being Born. Random, unpredictable events that didn't have warning signs (that gave you time to transfer from home to hospital) just don't happen- they are rare- and "safety" is not determined as "no risk" but "safe despite rare risk." 
  4. Safety needs to be weighed comparatively. Which is safer, at this point- Midwife care? Medical care? Home? Hospital? Vaginal? Cesarean? 

More- Article  More-Interpreting research

Want to know more about safety standards?

Safety of a mother and baby is the most important thing.

Homebirth and Midwife Model of Care aims to accomplish all of these levels. 

We aim for the top!

But we keep grounded in the bottom needs.

Learn about how birthing at home can be not only a Safe, but the safest option.