How to Get a Birth Certificate for a Baby Born Outside a Hospital

Last updated June 21st, 2022

A birth certificate is the very first vital record that is created for a person. Usually, the initial registration of a newborn is done in the hospital by the attending staff following a birth.

However, not every baby is born in a hospital. By choice or due to an emergency, many newborns are born outside a medical facility, which could require special paperwork to be completed.

If you experience a non-hospital birth, it is important to follow the correct procedures to create a certificate of live birth.

Ensuring that you get your baby registered for a birth certificate means that your newborn can get a Social Security number and other services from the government.

Certificate of Live Birth Vs. Birth Certificates

There are some significant differences between a certificate of live birth and a birth certificate when you are registering a newborn baby. The most important distinction is that one must be completed before the other can be issued.

The certificate of live birth is a document first registered by the hospital to prove that a baby was born. It includes the key details about the infant and their parents and is normally completed by a member of staff at the hospital.

It is necessary for the hospital to send the certificate of live birth to the local clerk or county recording office near where the birth took place. This allows a birth certificate to be issued.

The birth certificate on the other hand is an identifying document and a vital record. It is created by your local state once the birth of your newborn is confirmed and properly registered.

Registering a Newborn After a Home Birth

Expectant mothers commonly choose home births. When this is the case, a midwife or other medical professional will usually be present to help in case of complications.

If you’re planning a home birth the midwife or physician will be able to register the baby for you. This can take some of the bureaucratic burdens off the new parents.

In the event that a medical professional is not present, the parents will need to register the baby themselves. This must be done within 10 days of the child’s birth.

What you will need to register a birth outside a hospital

If your baby is born outside a hospital and a medical professional (such as a midwife) isn’t present, you should register the baby yourself. To do this you will need to provide evidence of the following facts:

  • Proof of the pregnancy (proven by medical reports or preregistration forms)
  • Who the parents are (via their ID, such as their state driver’s license or passport)
  • Evidence of live birth (from a medical observation or examination of the infant)
  • Where the baby was born (proof of place of residence if the baby was born at the mother’s home or a sworn statement from a witness to the birth outside the mother’s home)

How to Get a Birth Certificate for an Unassisted Home Birth

This evidence listed above must be presented at your local county clerk’s or state recorder’s office in order for a birth certificate to be issued.

During this appointment, you need to provide your identification. You may also need a witness’s sworn testimonial of the facts presented in the form of a notarized affidavit, if no other proof can be sourced.

Why It is Crucial to Register Your Newborns

Registering your child is often required by law in many states and, beyond that, it is important so that newborn child can properly access local and national services.

Registering your baby can prove essential if you want to add your newborn to your insurance coverage. To do this you’ll need to provide their birth certificate and social security number, and these can only be accessed if your baby has been recorded by your state.

Once the birth has been registered and a birth certificate issued, your child will be able to do the following with the document:

  • Register for school
  • Apply for a passport
  • Get a driver’s license
  • Be married
  • Receive retirement benefits