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 August 20, 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 August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
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