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Why at-home childbirths have higher fatality rates

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | Birth Injuries

When you’re expecting a baby, you may be filled with excitement and anticipation. You’re also probably planning out every last detail – from your baby’s nursery to their delivery.

In the U.S., 8.3% of all women opt to use a midwife in their childbirth. And many of these women – preferring to have a more comfortable, natural delivery – choose to have a home birth. However, such decisions can pose serious health risks – both for mother and baby.

In a recent case in Michigan, a mother hired a direct entry midwife to handle her delivery at home. Although the midwife knew that the baby was facing the wrong way (breeched in an unsafe V-shape), she chose to go ahead with the home birth – rather than rushing the mother to the hospital. This decision proved to be fatal.

During the birth, the baby’s head was contracted against his legs. This extreme pressure during delivery resulted in severe brain damage to the child – and ultimately his death a few days later. The family has sued the midwife for the wrongful death of their son.

Dangers of a home birth

Delivering a child at home is extremely dangerous. Any number of serious medical emergencies can arise. And without adequate medical equipment and professionals at the ready, improper or delayed treatment can lead to permanent injuries or death. Brain damage, cerebral palsy and asphyxiation are just some of the possible outcomes.

Picking a midwife

In addition, many people are unaware that different midwives can have wildly different levels of education and experience. A certified nurse midwife must have completed a nursing degree. In addition, many such midwives are registered nurses with a Master’s degree specializing in midwifery. Some of them even train resident physicians.

Direct entry midwives, on the other hand, have far less training. They do not need to become a nurse in order to become a midwife. In Michigan – and in fact the majority of U.S. states – midwifery is an unregulated profession. Midwives do not have to complete any nursing training before beginning their practice.

If your family has suffered due to a midwife’s negligence, it’s important to discuss your case with an attorney experienced in birthing injuries. You have the right to seek justice for your loss.


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