Handling Complications During a Home Birth

A common concern of couples contemplating a home birth is how midwives handle emergencies or complications during labor and birth.

Remember that midwives see healthy women and screen for problems during pregnancy. A midwife will automatically refer women with high blood pressure, heart problems, high blood sugar levels or low iron to an obstetrician. She will continually check a woman's physical and emotional state during regular prenatal visits. Midwives do not hesitate to refuse to attend a home birth if they are even slightly suspicious of serious complications that may require a hospital setting.

Traditionally, midwives try every trick in the book when dealing with a slow or difficult labor before calling in a physician or transporting a laboring woman to the hospital. The "tricks" that midwives use include simple techniques for relaxation and breathing but may also include the use of massage, herbs, homeopathy and acupuncture.

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