Many recent studies show that planned out-of-hospital births can be a safe option for low-risk mothers and, in some cases, may even be safer than hospital births. With so much technology available, how can this be true? Many hospital interventions have potential side effects for baby; the chance of infection is increased in the hospital setting; and routine newborn procedures can interfere with bonding and breastfeeding.

Every intervention used in a hospital delivery can have potential side effects for mom and for baby. These interventions include commonly-used medications such as epidurals and Pitocin, which is used to induce or augment labor. These interventions may also increase the use of instrumental delivery such as vacuum and cesarean sections. All of these interventions include risks to our babies. When birthing in an out-of-the-hospital setting, these interventions are never used.

If these interventions become necessary during your out-of-hospital birth, your midwife will take you to the hospital where these interventions can be monitored more closely.

Routine procedures done in the hospital can interfere with bonding and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the healthiest start you can give your baby. Separation after birth and routine newborn procedures such as blood draws, bathing and prolonged warming can interfere with breastfeeding initiation and the bonding process. Again, when choosing to birth in an out-of-hospital setting, there is no separation of mother and baby.

For low-risk mothers, a planned out-of-hospital birth can provide health benefits to their baby by decreasing risks from interventions, decreasing infections and by supporting breastfeeding and bonding.