Having Babies at Home: Is It Safe? Is It Ethical?
Hoff, Gerard Alan
Schneiderman, Lawrence J.
Hastings Center Report. 1985 Dec; 15(6): 19-27.
While both home and hospital births entail risks to the pregnant woman and fetus, no evidence of significantly greater risk of home birth is currently available that would clearly tilt the scales in favor of requiring babies to be born in hospitals. Parents, the state, and physicians have an interest in deciding about home birth, but for low-risk mothers with well-trained birth attendants, home birth can be considered in the best interest of both woman and fetus cannot be considered neglectful or abusive. Since home birth does not represent a clear and present danger to the common good, it does not warrant legal prohibition; physicians, however, are not required to participate but can legitimately offer backup support. The morality of home birth should be decided on a case-by-case basis, according to the priority of safety of the mother, safety of the fetus, benefit to the fetus, and potential benefit to the mother. (KIE abstract)
Autonomy; Child Abuse; Childbirth; Common Good; Decision Making; Economics; Fathers; Fetuses; Health; Health Care; Health Care Delivery; Health Personnel; Home Care; Hospitals; Legal Aspects; Morality; Morbidity; Mortality; Mothers; Midwives; Newborns; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Parent Child Relationship; Parents; Patient Care; Physicians; Pregnant Women; Risk; Risks and Benefits; State Interest; Statistics; Values;
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