Doctors Say No Advantage for Infants in Home Births


Doctors in the United States are advising that there is no benefit to infants who are born at home. They add that water births have no proven benefits for mothers, and that home births may contribute to serious health problems for infants.

Many mothers have found that going through labor in a pool of water may help to ease pain and possibly speed up the delivery process. Women, doctors say, should leave the pool when it is time to push. Dr. Joseph Wax, chairman of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) committee on obstetrics practice, says, “Potential infant risks of second stage immersion include fresh water drowning, serious infection, umbilical cord (snapping) with (bleeding) and need for transfusion.”

Even though there is no proven benefit of a water birth, women who are otherwise healthy may want to try it. Women who do elect a water birth should be full term and not have had any complications during the pregnancy. When women do choose a water birth, whether at home or in the hospital, they need to be monitored closely.

Home births have been shown, statistically, to be more dangerous to the infant. Infections and complications from the birth could explain the increased risk. Recommendations are that a woman should only take part in a water birth during the second stage of labor if she is part of a clinical trial.

If you believe that your baby has been injured in New York during the birthing process due to medical negligence or error, reach out to our team of experienced birth injury attorneys. We will review the details of your case at no cost to you and advise you of the options you have under current state law.


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