Birth coaching draws wide criticism from obstetricians
Giving birth accompanied by people who do not have any medical training is murder, health professionals have said, following the death of a newborn baby during a delivery process officiated by a “birth coach” at home.
As more women have been opting for home birth due to fear of COVID-19 infection, a tragic incident that occurred in Ankara last week turned the spotlight on the risk of childbirths that are unsupervised by a medical team.
A 41-week pregnant woman, identified only by initials Ö.G., went into labor last week and the first intervention was given at home by a birth coach. However, the feet of the baby appeared first, making the process a breech birth.
The pregnant woman was taken to Hacettepe University Hospital Emergency Service by ambulance after immediate help was requested from the 112 Emergency Call Center. But the baby was found to be stuck in the birth canal.
It was determined that the newborn died due to being without oxygen for a long time while the woman was undergoing surgery. The incident drew criticism from health professionals, in particular obstetricians.
Professor Cansun Demir, a member of the Turkish Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics, said that there is no concept of a “birth coach” in literature and that births can only be performed by obstetricians and midwives.
“It is simply a murder if a person without any medical training performs a vaginal birth,” Demir said, noting that approaches such as birth coaching were a money trap imposed to attract people of a particular socioeconomic level.
Obstetrician Oktay Kaymak said that it is acceptable for the birth coach to be with the mother-to-be in the hospital environment to support her during the birth, but not more, since the fact that each birth has its own risks.
In the meantime, it has been revealed that birth coach certificates are given over after two or three weeks of online training that doesn’t require any specialization.