(HealthDay News) – Planned home births are not in a patient’s best interest and doctors have a responsibility to advocate against them, according to a clinical opinion paper published online Nov. 13 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Frank A. Chervenak, MD, from Cornell University in New York City, and colleagues evaluated the claims of advocates of planned home birth, including patient safety, patient satisfaction, cost-effectiveness, and respect for women’s rights.

The researchers found that there is an increased risk of unnecessary, preventable, and irreparable harm for pregnant, fetal, and neonatal patients with planned home births. Patient safety and satisfaction are undermined by persistently high rates of emergency transport, and the suggested cost-effectiveness of home birth is called into question by comprehensive analysis. The authors call on physicians to understand, identify, and rectify the root causes of the resurgence of planned home birth; to provide evidence-based recommendations against home birth for women expressing an interest in planned home birth; and to refuse to participate in planned home birth. However, doctors should still provide high-level and compassionate emergency obstetric care to those women who are transported from planned home birth.

“We call on obstetricians, other concerned physicians, midwives and other obstetric providers, and their professional associations not to support planned home birth when there are safe and compassionate hospital-based alternatives and to advocate for a safe home-birth-like experience in the hospital,” the authors write.

Full Text