California residents should be aware of a Canadian study, which found that women with low-risk pregnancies who use the services of a midwife to deliver a baby at home have no significantly greater risk of serious injury or neonatal death than women who give birth in a hospital. The study found that planned home births correlated with fewer medical interventions, such as cesarean delivery. Well-designed studies show a consistent finding that hospital birth and at-home birth with the assistance of a midwife are comparable in terms of safety.
A leading authority in midwifery reported that the findings of the study related to home birth safety were reassuring. In Ontario, 10 percent of all births occur with the assistance of a midwife. Most of those births occur in a hospital. In the United States, approximately 8 percent of births occurred with the help of a midwife in 2003 and most of those births also took place in a hospital. The study examined approximately 11,000 planned at-home births and 11,000 hospital births in the Canadian province of Ontario.
More than 50 percent of the mothers involved in the study had previously given birth. Participants experienced low-risk pregnancies without such risk factors as drug or alcohol dependency, heart conditions, hepatitis B, HIV or other serious medical conditions. The authors of the study did not include premature deliveries, breech presentation babies or multiple pregnancies.
Whether a birth takes place in a hospital or at home, medical negligence may result in a medical malpractice lawsuit. If it is determined that a practicing medical professional acted outside of the standards of care and an injury to the infant or mother results, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be filed. A lawyer might assist affected patients to seek compensation for medical bills and other expenses.