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Make sure that your midwife can handle all emergencies

Are you planning a home birth using a midwife? You need to be sure that the midwife you choose is prepared for all contingencies and emergencies that could occur during a home birth.

One of the possible things that could go wrong is you could hemorrhage after you deliver your baby. Your midwife should feel confident that she is able to staunch the flow of blood until you can be stabilized. Hemorrhages are scary events, especially in non-medical settings. You may need to be transferred to a hospital to get a transfusion, but the immediate focus is to stop the bleeding.

A midwife has to be prepared to immediately slide her (gloved) hand up to the forearm into a bleeding mother's birth canal to apply pressure or to remove a retained placenta. But that same midwife also has to have the knowledge to understand when a woman needs to be transported to the hospital, e.g., cases of partial placenta abrupta, to receive care that a midwife is unqualified to provide.

There is nothing wrong with choosing to give birth at home aided only by your spouse or partner and a midwife. But there can be risks with this route that are typically not as dangerous in a hospital setting.

When choosing your midwife, you must make sure that the ego will never override common sense and professionalism. Yes, midwives can routinely deliver babies and handle postpartum complications. But because some of those complications can become rapidly fatal for both mother and baby, a higher level of care must be sought immediately.

If you suffered a near-fatal hemorrhage or other birth complication during your midwife-assisted home-birth, you may be able to hold the midwife liable for any damages you suffered as a result.

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