Complications rare in home births, but can be catastrophic: Doctor

Births at home may come with many risks and complications, a gynaecologist told The New Paper.

Dr Kenneth Wong, consultant and director of the Obgyn Centre, said that based on statistics alone, most natural births are safe and without mishap.

"Though uncommon and frequently unanticipated, the births usually happen very fast and often to low-risk patients," he said.

However, Dr Wong does not advocate home deliveries.

"Complications, though uncommon, can occur to even low risk mothers and when they do, they can be rapid and catastrophic.

Therefore, they are best carried out in a hospital setting for the safety of both mother and child," he said.

"The first thing to do in such emergencies is to take the patient to the hospital as soon as possible, especially in Singapore, where any obstetric facility is within half an hour away by ambulance."

On About.com website, Ms Robin Elise Weiss, a doula and author of several pregnancy and parenting books in the US, shared several measures that can be taken in the event of an emergency childbirth:

l. Don't panic. Remaining calm can help you focus on the birth, even if you are alone.

2. Remind the mother to try to pant, or only push very gently with the contractions.

3. As the baby's head becomes visible, place your hand on the head and provide it with support. Again, remind the mother to try and pant during this part to help prevent tearing. If you're alone, simply place your hands over the baby's head as best as possible.

4. Gently guide the baby out and do not pull on the baby or its head.

5. Don't cut or pull on the umbilical cord until the arrival of a medical officer.


This article was first published on Dec 28, 2015.
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