Committee Opinion No 697 Summary: Planned Home Birth

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Abstract

In the United States, approximately 35,000 births (0.9%) per year occur in the home. Approximately one fourth of these births are unplanned or unattended. Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists believes that hospitals and accredited birth centers are the safest settings for birth, each woman has the right to make a medically informed decision about delivery. Importantly, women should be informed that several factors are critical to reducing perinatal mortality rates and achieving favorable home birth outcomes. These factors include the appropriate selection of candidates for home birth; the availability of a certified nurse–midwife, certified midwife or midwife whose education and licensure meet International Confederation of Midwives’ Global Standards for Midwifery Education, or physician practicing obstetrics within an integrated and regulated health system; ready access to consultation; and access to safe and timely transport to nearby hospitals. The Committee on Obstetric Practice considers fetal malpresentation, multiple gestation, or prior cesarean delivery to be an absolute contraindication to planned home birth.

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