Alternate Birth Strategies

Int J Womens Health. 2023 Jul 21:15:1151-1159. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S405533. eCollection 2023.


Community birth is defined as birth that occurs outside the hospital setting. Birthing in a birth center can be safe for certain patient populations. Home birth can also be safe in well-selected patient with a well-established transfer infrastructure should an emergency occur. Unfortunately, many areas of the United States and the world do not have this infrastructure, limiting access to safe community birth. Immersion during labor has been associated with decreased need for epidural and pain medication. Delivery should not occur in water due to concerns for infection and cord avulsion. Umbilical cord non-severance (also called lotus birth) and placentophagy should be counseled against due to well-documented risks without clear benefit. Birth plans and options should be regularly discussed during pregnancy visits.

Keywords: community birth; home birth; immersion in labor; maternal outcomes; perinatal outcomes; placentophagy; water birth.

Publication types

  • Review

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