Risks involved in home births may be too high

Are planned out-of-hospital births allowed by the Ministry of Health ("Home sweet home birth"; last Thursday)?

After all, the practice of obstetrics is considered very high-risk. In fact, it is ranked so high that the annual medical indemnity insurance for obstetricians currently stands at about $27,000 to $31,000 (depending on whether it is from the Medical Protection Society or NTUC Income), compared with other high-risk disciplines such as cardiothoracic surgery (at around $8,000, as set by NTUC Income).

If home births are considered riskier than hospital-based deliveries, I wonder how much medical indemnity doulas have, if at all.

And if they do not need any medical indemnity insurance at all, the logical conclusion would be that, conversely, what they do comes with less risk than hospital-based obstetrics.

As much as we would like to emulate practices from other countries or cultures, we should be aware of their true nature - is it progression or regression?

Perhaps the Ministry of Health can clarify its stand on planned home births and the legal responsibilities of doulas in Singapore.

Chia Yew Chin (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'Risks involved in home births may be too high'. Print Edition | Subscribe