There are distinct risks and benefits to any birthplace. It is the responsibility of parents to become as informed as possible, to weigh those risks and to make decisions appropriate to them. According to the College of Midwives, it is the responsibility of each midwife to support choice of birthplace within the scope of practice of midwifery. It is also the midwife’s responsibility to plan care appropriately when contraindications to out-of-hospital birth arise.
The standards of the College of Midwives state that birth should be planned to take place in hospital in the circumstances of multiple birth, breech presentation, preterm labour prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy, and documented post-term pregnancy of more than 43 completed weeks. Other situations in which hospital birth should be planned may arise prenatally, with appropriate consultation as detailed in the College of Midwives Indications for Mandatory Discussion, Consultation and Transfer of Care. Despite the standards of the College of Midwives support for choice of birthplace, out of hospital birth remains controversial. Most medical practitioners and organizations believe home birth poses added risks. In our view, the available research indicates that planned home birth and birth in out-of-hospital birth centres is a safe option for healthy clients. Adequate prenatal care is an important factor in detecting and avoiding possible complications. Even though most complications can be screened out prenatally, difficulties can arise during labour and birth. Most of these are not emergencies and can be dealt with at home or safely transported to hospital.
Choosing to give birth either at home or in hospital means the acceptance of certain risks which can be life threatening. There are rare circumstances when use of the technology available only in tertiary care hospitals may be essential for the safety of the client and/or baby. In hospital there are rare circumstances where serious complications may arise due to iatrongenic causes.
We can provide you with detailed information about some of the complications which may arise and we encourage you to discuss with us our experience in dealing with them.
Your home birth package consists of the following documents:
- Health Canada’s revised recommendations for breast-fed infants
- A breastfeeding chart (for tracking)
- A Statement of Live Birth form
- Instructions on when to page postpartum
In addition to these and the general resources listed to the left, we encourage you to attend a home birth night to consider this option. Please check the news section to find out when the next home birth night is coming.