Wherever a baby is born in New Jersey or elsewhere, whether at the hospital, in a birthing center or at home pursuant to a planned delivery surrounded by family members, there is always a concern with birth injuries.

Although the majority of babies in the United States are born without complications, those who experience problems during the birthing process owing to substandard care — which can broadly include unqualified members of a delivery team, insufficient staff members on hand, a lack of necessary equipment, the failure to properly recognize or respond to dangerous developments, improper monitoring and unnecessary delays — can sustain serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Those include cerebral palsy, facility-acquired infections, shoulder dystocia and fetal distress. Injuries to the mother can also arise during delivery.

Two medical groups — the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), respectively — say that, notwithstanding such risks, the safest place for a child to be born is always in a hospital or birthing center and not at home. Owing to that, both groups have issued written policies regarding home deliveries that they say are prompted by a concern that all babies receive the same type and level of care during the birthing process and following it, regardless of where they are born.

The AAP statement is the more recent announcement, with its policy being stated earlier this month. The document contains a number of recommendations concerning home deliveries and counsels that home births be limited to the low-risk pregnancies of healthy mothers.

Analysis conducted in one medical study concludes that a baby is up to three times more likely to die in a planned home birth than if delivered in a hospital or birthing center.

Source: American Medical News, “Pediatricians offer newborn care standards for home births,” Kevin B. O’Reilly, May 13, 2013