Many expecting women are thinking about a home birth due to the pandemic. However, hospitals are still the safest place for most labor and deliveries.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to make a major impact on people’s lives, women expecting to give birth are facing unique concerns of their own. They are unsure of whether they should attend prenatal appointments, or whether they should have their baby in a hospital setting or at home. In fact, there has been a significant increase in Internet users searching for how to have a home birth since the pandemic hit. Even in these uncertain times, medical experts continue to agree that a hospital or a birthing center is the safest place to have a child.
Hospital Births vs. Home Births
Today, the vast majority of women choose to give birth in a hospital setting. Still, there are many that choose the more traditional method of giving birth at their home. Regardless of the method chosen, a trained medical professional, such as a midwife, doula, or doctor should always be present in case complications arise. Even then, home births are not appropriate for every pregnancy.
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), home births are only appropriate for low-risk births. Mothers carrying non-multiple babies that are properly positioned, and who are delivering between 37 and 41 weeks are the only women who should have a home birth. Even in these instances, experts say that home births are a calculated risk. These recommendations remain true during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Risk of Infection
Of course, the reason so many mothers are considering home births is because they are worried about contracting the virus inside the hospital. The risk of this, however, is very low. Just as in pre-pandemic days, the room is still sanitized prior to a new patient entering, and the utmost care is taken to ensure patients are protected from the risk of germs.
Even though some areas are experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), this is a bigger concern for hospital workers than it is for patients. Also, the healthcare professionals providing care on maternity wards are not the same people caring for patients in the emergency room. Due to this, the risk of becoming infected by a healthcare professional while in the hospital is very low.
Home Births Require Planning
While the pandemic has certainly sparked more interest about home births, it is also important that expectant women understand that home births require a great deal of planning. Home births require a great deal of equipment and plans must be made in case there is a complication or emergency during labor or delivery.
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Home births do have a number of benefits, but one has to remember that hospitals are still considered the safest place to give birth, even during this uncertain time. Women who want to have a home birth should speak to their doctor or midwife and create a thorough p