Home Delivery

Having a home delivered baby may sound appealing to some. However, always make it a point to consult with your doctor before you make any final decisions. There are several points you should educate yourself on before you make a final decision to deliver at home. Currently, the Malaysian government does not encourage home deliveries as there are many inherent dangers that mothers-to-be may not be aware of. However, despite the dangers, there is a growing trend where delivering at home is slowly becoming the first choice.

Did you know?

The current practice is for doctors to use a ‘tag’ system to identify the possibility of complications arising during the delivery. Those who have been tagged with white/green tags can opt to deliver at home. However, those who have been flagged as ‘high-risk’ cases should not take the risk as there is a high chance of maternal and neonatal mortality occurring.

Prepare beforehand


If you insist on having a home delivery, there are two key things to take into consideration:

1) Are you a suitable candidate? While you can make all the plans you want, your pregnancy status can change from no-risk to high-risk even at the last minute. As your pregnancy progresses, many factors may come into play so it pays to listen to a professional before making the final decision on whether to deliver at home or at the hospital.

2) Who will conduct the delivery? Always find a trained healthcare personnel (this could be a doctor or even a trained midwife) to assist as they will have the necessary training and know what to do to prevent or handle complications.

You should also keep your plans for delivering at home flexible as there may be last minute developments that may shift your status from a low-risk delivery into a high risk delivery, e.g. breech position (the foetus’ buttocks are down), placenta previa (the placenta covers the cervix), or nuchal cord (umbilical cord around the foetus’ neck). If such a situation occurs, it would be safer to have your delivery at a hospital instead. It is also not advisable for first-time mothers to deliver at home.

Opting for a doula

What is a doula?

A doula is typically a woman who has herself given birth, and who will be present to give her support, help, and advice to you during and after your birthing process.

You may have done some research about home birthing and plan to deliver at home by engaging in the services of a doula instead of a doctor or midwife. However, you should take note that a doula can only assist with deliveries in a non-medical way as they do not have any medical training or expertise. They can only provide you with mental, emotional, and possibly physical support by providing verbal encouragement to the mother during her delivery and perhaps help out in other small ways to comfort the mother.

They are not able to support the mother in a medical capacity and they are definitely NOT healthcare professionals. This is where a doctor or midwife comes into the picture – unlike a doula, they are trained to recognise danger signs and thus, will know what to do in emergencies. There have been several situations where this has led to deaths due to complications during delivery.

Don’t be complacent

While home delivery is a growing trend, it is not without its risks. There are highly educated groups in Malaysia who subscribe to the ideal that delivering at home is a natural process and it should be taken no matter the risk. Sadly, this has led to several deaths which have been highlighted in local news. The Malaysian Ministry of Health does not recommend home births unless under the supervision of trained and experienced personnel.

The crux of the matter is to always put safety first. If there is any reasonable doubt that the delivery will not be easy, then cancel your plans to deliver at home. The life of not just your unborn child, but also the mother, could be at stake so don’t take unnecessary risks.

An educational collaboration with Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia.

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