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HealthWatch: Home Births Are Increasingly Popular, But Have Risks

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- New government figures show that more women are choosing to give birth in the privacy of their own homes, Dr. Max Gomez reports.

One of those women is Kayti Lathrop. She's the mother of five children, and delivered each one at home.

"My husband and I were looking for just a personal, quiet, no drama experience to have a baby," Lathrop said.

New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show home births are up 20 percent.

"They're going to be at home, they're going to be in a very soothing physical environment, they're in their surroundings," said Dr. Jacques Moritz of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital.

Most moms who give birth at home use a midwife. That way sterile instruments are used and there's oxygen on hand, but doctors warn there can be complications.

"Even the most seemingly normal, low risk delivery can become an emergency at a moment's notice. And having the ability, or a blood bank, equipment, hi-tech nurses, if you need it is absolutely essential," said Dr. Steven Goldstein of the NYU-Langone Medical Center.

Studies show the risk of newborns dying can be higher during home deliveries. Doctors also recommend that only women with low risk pregnancies consider them.

Lathrop had minor complications with her last delivery, but has no regrets.

"Women have been doing this for centuries. And they've been doing a really good job at it. I just trusted that i could do this," she said.

Many doctors, however, warn that natural is not always better.

"Nature can be very cruel. I spend much of my day trying to circumvent nature. Nature lets mothers die in childbirth. Nature lets babies die in childbirth. I don't want natural unless natural is going the right way," said Dr. Goldstein.

Are you considering a home birth? Sound off in our comments section below…

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