The Journal of Clinical Ethics


Judith A. Lothian, “Being Safe: Making the Decision to Have a Planned Home Birth in the United States,” The Journal of Clinical Ethics 24, no. 3 (Fall 2013): 266-75.



      Although there is evidence that supports the safety of planned home birth for healthy women, less than 1 percent of women in the United States choose to have their baby at home. An ethnographic study of the experience of planned home birth provided rich descriptions of women’s experiences planning, preparing for, and having a home birth. This article describes findings related to how women make the decision to have a planned home birth. For these women, being safe emerged as central in making the decision. For them, being safe included four factors: avoiding technological birth interventions, knowing the midwife and the midwife knowing them, feeling comfortable and protected at home, and knowing that backup hospital medical care was accessible if needed.


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