Homebirths gone wrong


There’s an eye opening thread on allnurses.com entitled Home births gone wrong.

American women thinking about homebirth should read it. You can’t give informed consent unless you understand the very real risks of your baby dying at homebirth.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Then there was baby that the midwife dropped on the bathroom floor and fractured the baby’s skull but didn’t bring him in until he started seizing.[/pullquote]

It starts off with this question from a NICU nurse:

Do you see this often in your facility? In 2.5 years we have had 2 babies die and 2 be severely disabled from home birth… Recently we had a mom who was told she needed a C section by two different physicians at two different facilities for a breech baby and low fluid and she refused, signed out AMA and attempted a home birth with midwives. The baby of course became stuck with the body born and required a 13 minute code. We cooled her immediately for 72 hours and she spent two weeks on a vent. She just now is extubated but will require a trach because she can’t cough or swallow or gag so secretions just build up. She is more or less vegetative and on a slew of anti seizure meds. This stuff just really makes it hard for me to sleep! I feel like these poor innocent babies end up paying for their parents risky stupid decisions…

Other nurses respond:

Yes! There is a group of midwives in my area that deliver at home and at their birthing center that we see come in with their patients quite often. One of their patients was a similar story to yours. The baby was known to be frank breech a couple days before delivery but the midwives allowed mom to labor at home. Baby got stuck, was coded and died anyway (the baby was essentially dead when mom arrived at the hospital). Beautiful perfect baby who I’m convinced would still be alive if mom got a C-section. Overheard the midwife tell the parents that the baby obviously wasn’t meant to live.

We also had another baby that they removed from the birthing pool too slowly and the kid was an aspiration pneumonia/PPHN/whole body cooling.

Then there was baby that the midwife dropped on the bathroom floor and fractured the baby’s skull but didn’t bring him in until he started seizing.

And this:

We had one mom that was GBS positive and the local birthing center in town told her to shove a garlic clove up her hooha to kill the bacteria and the kid went into RDS about 4 hours after birth. The midwife told them just to drive the kid to the ER and when they got there the baby was sating in the 40’s and HR about 90. Totally blue and limp. GBS sepsis. When we were down in the ER trying to resuscitate the kid the mom asked me “when can I put him to breast again?”. I wanted to slap her. Then we went to get an emergency line into place and the parents tried to decline antibiotics because their midwife told them antibiotics were terrible for babies and not necessary. He ended up on HFOV maxed out on dopamine and dobutamine within an inch of death. Thankfully he lived…

And a maternal death:

Just during my short time in the OR we had 3 failed home births that ended catastrophically. One was a mom with placenta accreta who pushed against a 10lb baby for hours. We sectioned her in the main OR; She bled out right in front of us with her husband standing by her side. Hands down the worst case I’ve ever participated in. Baby made it…

Another maternal death:

I swear, the time has come to write a book to blow the lid off this “natural health” movement. I remember in clinical practice a mother who came in with HELLP and was stable, but due to the influence of her -non nurse- “all natural” midwife would not let us push IV fluids or magnesium. We lost her and the baby in a totally preventable seizure. Someone needs to write a book about all the ways the “natural health” community spews pseudoscience that at best helps nothing and in the worst cases, delays treatment till it’s too late.

And this:

It is hard not to get angry when parents who choose to forgo a hospital birth because of the big, bad medical establishment suddenly want us to do “everything medically possible to save my baby” regardless of how detrimental it is to the infant and in some cases completely futile. The hospital is spending millions of dollars to put their baby on ECMO and body cooling for a baby that is, without a doubt, going to be dinged (a NICU term) and possibly unsaveable when perhaps a few quiet conversations and some different choices could have resulted in a 2-3 day hospital stay and a healthy infant.

And this:

Almost 50% of our unit’s cooling babies were patients of these midwives and we have seen some absolutely clear cut negligence from them, yet they keep on practicing and consistently producing poor outcomes.

And this:

In my area we have a lay midwife that has lost creditably with the nursing staff long ago. When her patients come in they are train wrecks. Pushing for 5 hours against a 8 cm cervix, push with a FHR in the 90s…turns out that was the moms HR….baby had no heart rate when she come in by rescue for “exhaustion”, and a PP pt that was allowed to slowly bleed out for 6 hours before being brought in because she was “dizzy & couldn’t hold the baby to breastfeed”. They only gave her apple juice thinking it was her blood sugar. Turns out she had a cervical tear and retained placenta. These are just a few examples….and each time it happens, we have to wait for charting, prenatals and other information because she “has to gather my thoughts”.

And a baby with what sounds like an internal decapitation:

I’ve seen terrible things roll into triage when homebirth goes wrong. We had a woman come in who reported her water broke over a week ago but her midwife told her it was fine and to stay home. She was so infected you could barely stand in her room because of the foul odor. And baby was long dead. We had another mom roll in with her homebirth midwife who had been pushing for 12 hours and upon exam was found to have a closed cervix and the fetal heart tones were in the 50s. One more horror story, we had a home birth midwife attempt a delivery that ended with a severe shoulder dystocia which she attempted to resolved herself for nearly 30 minutes before coming to the hospital, at which time baby was long gone and the spinal column was detached from the aggressiveness the midwife had used to attempt to deliver the baby…

There’s plenty more in the following pages.

Thinking about homebirth? Think again.