Law Office of Robert A. Miller
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In-hospital and at-home births show little risk difference

Expectant women in Oregon sometimes want to have their child delivered at home with a midwife, rather than in the hospital. Many are nervous to do so in case a problem arises, however. A Canadian study shows that at-home births carry similar risks as those in hospitals as long as the woman's pregnancy is a low-risk one.

The researchers from McMaster University in Ontario studied approximately 11,000 planned at-home births and 11,000 hospital births for low-risk pregnancies. They found very little difference between the two in terms of dangers. While 8 percent of at-home births required emergency treatment as opposed to less than 2 percent of the hospital births, a greater number of births in the hospital had additional services, such as C-sections and labor augmentation than did at-home births.

Out of every 1,000 births, 1.15 babies were stillborn or died after birth for those delivered at home. In the hospital, the rate was 0.94 deaths per 1,000 births. None of the women studied had complications, such as diabetes, drug dependence, HIV or other assorted problems.

Whether or not to have a baby at home rather than in a hospital is a decision that should be fully informed by the woman's doctor. If a woman has pre-existing health conditions or develops them during her pregnancy, she probably should not opt for an at-home birth. The goal should be to deliver a baby who is healthy and able to thrive. Women who have complicating conditions risk birth injuries if they choose to have their children at home without medical care. If a woman has a baby who suffers from birth injuries due to the negligence of a doctor, the parents may want to have the assistance of an attorney in filing a lawsuit against the medical professional seeking compensation for the losses that have been incurred.

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