VILNIUS – Only low-risk expectant mothers will be able to give birth at home in Lithuania but will still need to submit an application with a medical establishment and sign a contract, the Ministry of Health says.
According to Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga, the new rules are aimed at ensuring the safety of pregnant women and their babies.
"Our goal is to ensure that women who have chosen to give birth at home received a safe and qualitative service and proper care before and after birth, and specialists would not risk losing their licenses or finding themselves in court," Veryga said in a statement.
Under the new rules, a woman who wants to give birth at home will need to file an application with a medical establishment and then specialists will evaluate her health and the premises where she plans to give birth.
The woman and the establishment will sign a contract under which the expectant mother will receive consultations before and after birth, assistance during birth and will be visited by an obstetrician after birth.
Under the rules, a clean and warm room where a women plans to give birth will need to have hot water, power and a hard surface for resuscitation of the baby in case of emergency. An ambulance will also have to have access to be able to take the women and her baby to hospital within 30 minutes.
The new rules will not apply to women who had prior C-sections, surgeries on their womb, premature births, or in those cases when certain pregnancy or baby pathologies, developmental deficiencies, the women's diseases or pregnancy complications have been identified.
Also, women under 18 or over 40, those pregnant for the first time, women after artificial insemination will not be allowed to give birth at home.