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Newborn Care Frequently Asked Questions - Page 3
By Michael Schoenwetter, M.D. and Loraine Stern, M.D.

Home Births
Recently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) changed its opposition to home births. ACOG stated although it believes hospitals and birthing centers are the safest place to deliver a newborn, it respects a mother's right to make an informed medical decision.

While the risk is low, a planned home birth is associated with a 2-3 times the increased risk of newborn death when compared to a hospital birth. However, for low risk women, planned home birth appears to be associated with fewer obstetric interventions.

If considering a home birth ACOG recommends Women should be informed of risks and benefits. Strict criteria should be used to select who should have a home birth including:

  • no existing maternal disease

  • no disease occurring during pregnancy

  • no twins

  • no breech babies

  • the pregnancy should be between 36 and 41 weeks

  • labor should be spontaneous or induced as an outpatient

  • the mother has not been transferred from another referring hospital

  • no prior c-section

  • timely transfer to a hospital is available

  • midwives should be certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board

As a pediatrician, I have witnessed too many routine deliveries in a hospital that needed medical intervention for either the newborn or the mother to feel comfortable for home deliveries. However, I do feel that as long as the family makes an informed decision and abides by the above criteria, medical personnel should respect their wishes.


We hope these frequently asked questions are helpful and please check back as we will be adding more new information regarding newborn care.

Newborn Care FAQ's Page 1 * Newborn Care FAQ's Page 2 * Newborn Care FAQ's Page 3

Be sure to read our Newborn Safety Tips and Baby Proofing page for some important information.
Please email us at if you have other common newborn care questions.


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