Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Risk of future disability to child should 'weigh heavily' in birthplace decisions

Date:
January 22, 2014
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
The risk of future long-term disability to the child should "weigh heavily" in decisions about whether to give birth at home or in hospital, argue leading ethicists.

The risk of future long term disability to the child should "weigh heavily" in decisions about whether to give birth at home or in hospital, argue leading ethicists in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Women should, of course, be free to choose where they want to give birth, insist Oxford University ethicist Professor Julian Savulescu and obstetrician and gynecologist Associate Professor Lachlan de Crespigny of the University of Melbourne.

But to date, the arguments around the safety of homebirth have focused on the risk of death, ignoring the possibility of long term disability to the future child -- an equally relevant consideration, they argue.

As a result, women and their partners may be poorly informed of all the potential risks they could be taking by choosing a homebirth, they say.

There is comparatively little evidence on the long term outcomes of children born at home. And this is a deficit that needs to be addressed, to ensure that both women and their doctors are better informed, argue both authors in an accompanying podcast.

But the available research indicates that there are "a number of reasons to be concerned," they say in the podcast, as they point to increased risks of death, disability, and admission to neonatal intensive care compared with hospital births.

If complications arise during birth, it is vital that mother and baby can access immediate medical expertise to ensure the long term wellbeing of both, they say.

Even small delays can be crucial and have lifelong implications. And inevitably, there will be few resources available to pick up and manage these complications at home, they point out.

"When a baby is injured during childbirth, the full extent of the harm is often not obvious until years later," they warn, adding: "Actions taken today that cause harm in the future are as wrong as if that harm were realized today."

The authors acknowledge that hospital births are not without their own risks, and that homebirth is often seen as a more natural and less interventionist alternative.

"However, labor and delivery is a time of high risk, and homebirth may expose the future child to unreasonable risk of potentially life-changing disability for benefits that may be comparatively small," they argue.

In the podcast, Professor Savulescu argues strongly that hospitals need to do far more to make their environments more attractive and acceptable to women, while healthcare professionals should ensure that mums to be are fully informed of the potential risks of a homebirth.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. de Crespigny, J. Savulescu. Homebirth and the Future Child. Journal of Medical Ethics, 2014; DOI: 10.1136/medethics-2012-101258

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Risk of future disability to child should 'weigh heavily' in birthplace decisions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122202213.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2014, January 22). Risk of future disability to child should 'weigh heavily' in birthplace decisions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122202213.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Risk of future disability to child should 'weigh heavily' in birthplace decisions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122202213.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins