Handling Complications During a Home Birth


The midwife at a home birth will have all her instruments laid out, readily accessible, and the oxygen tank turned on, so that what might be an emergency becomes a matter of routine. Many couples worry that the umbilical cord may be wrapped around the baby's neck, a very common occurrence that can be easily handled by a midwife in a home birth.

Some babies "get stuck," a situation called shoulder dystocia. They are gently eased out with position changes of the mother, manipulations of the baby and sometimes episiotomies.

When a situation needs more than the midwife can offer, she has the mother transported to the hospital. Most transports are for labors that progress slowly. If the midwife has good rapport with the backup doctor and the hospital, the birth can often proceed as if the mother and midwife were still at home.

For more information, read about home births, birthing centers and hospital births.

Bio: Barbara Harper, R.N., is the founder of Global Maternal/Child Health Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and research about natural childbirth, including the use of water to ease labor and birth. She lectures internationally on maternity care reform. This article is an excerpt from her book, Gentle Birth Choices, published by Healing Arts Press in Rochester, VT.

Connect with Us
Follow Our Pins

Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.

Follow Our Tweets

The very dirty truth about fashion internships... DUN DUN @srslytheshow http://t.co/wfewf

On Instagram

Behind-the-scenes pics from iVillage.

Best of the Web