Recommendations on home birth issued by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

March 1, 2011

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently issued a committee opinion stating that although the absolute risk associated with planned home births is low, published medical evidence shows that it is associated with a 2- to 3-fold increase in the risk for newborn death compared with planned hospital births.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently issued a Committee Opinion stating that although the absolute risk associated with planned home births is low, published medical evidence shows that it is associated with a 2- to 3-fold increase in the risk for newborn death compared with planned hospital births.

ACOG maintains that hospitals and birthing centers are the safest places for labor and delivery. Although the College does not support planned home birth, it does support offering those who choose home birth standard components of prenatal care, including screening and treatment for group B streptococci, genetic disorders, and HIV.

The College also recommends that women contemplating home delivery ascertain that they are healthy and at low risk for complications. ACOG also recommends that these women work with a certified nurse midwife, a certified midwife, or a physician who practices in an integrated, regulated health system and who has ready access to consultation and a plan for safe, quick transportation to a nearby hospital in an emergency.

ACOG Committee on Obstetric Practice. Committee opinion No. 476: planned home birth. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;117(2 Pt 1):425-428.