Frequently Asked Questions About Homebirth
Is homebirth with a midwife safe?
Research has shown that planned homebirth is as safe or safer than
hospital birth. Today, America has the highest costing maternity care in the
world, yet has worse pregnancy outcomes than almost all other industrialized
countries. Every single country with a lower infant mortality rate than the
U.S.(there are 27 of them!) has midwives, rather than OB surgeons, as the
principle birth attendants.
to the study published in the British Medical Journal in June, 2005, planned
home births for low risk women in the United States are associated with
similar safety and less medical intervention as low risk hospital births.
According to the study, if you choose homebirth with a Certified
Professional Midwife, the intervention rates would be a tenth to a half of
what they would be in hospital, compared to figures of the same time period
from the National Health Institute of the US.
"Every study that has compared midwives and obstetricians has found
better outcomes for midwives for same-risk patients. In some studies,
midwives actually served higher risk populations than the physicians and
still obtained lower mortalities and morbidities. The superiority and safety
of midwifery for most women no longer needs to be proven. It has been well
" The Future of Midwifery in the United
States, " Madrona, Lewis & Morgaine, NAPSAC News, Fall-Winter, 1993, p.30
"Every study published shows midwives to be safer than doctors. Every
study. No exceptions. If your physician disagrees with this, challenge him
or her to produce the data that supports otherwise. They won't be able to do
it. Such data does not and never did exist. In a nutshell, that is the
strength of the case for midwifery. It is unanimous. . .Over and over again,
throughout history, the data shows that when doctors displace midwives,
outcomes get worse."
" The Five Standards of Safe Childbearing,"
David Stewart, PhD. (Editor), Marble Hill, MO: NAPSAC Reproductions, 1982,
Why choose a homebirth?
- Pregnancy and birth is a normal body process of womanhood. It is not
an illness or medical event requiring hospitalization and medical
interference in most cases.
- You are in charge of your birth at home and are not "on the clock"
with time limits.
- Most women find they are better able to manage pain in familiar
surroundings and have less stress in their own private home environment.
- At home, you are free to birth instinctively by listening and
responding to your body's natural signals without unwanted or
unnecessary intervention and without being attached to various machines
- No strangers coming in and out of the room and no shift changes.
- Freedom to move, eat, drink, labor and birth as you want.
- You can have whomever you wish present at your birth, including your
- You or your partner can help catch the baby.
- Less chance of infection at home than in a hospital.
- Much lower chance of having a surgical cesarean birth. In DFW
hospitals, approximately one in three women will deliver by surgical
cesarean delivery. (http://tbgh.org/checkup/) If you choose a surgeon
(OB) to oversee your normal, healthy pregnancy and birth, surgery is
much more likely to happen, than when you choose a midwife who
specializes in natural childbirth.
- You are never separated from your baby - newborn exams are done at
your bed after nursing has been established.
- And yes, the midwives clean up - you have no mess to worry about.
Your focus is on your new baby.
Who can have a homebirth?
Most women who are committed to taking care of themselves through proper
nutrition and self-care can have their babies at home. Hospital-based
medical care may recommended if you have certain conditions such as
insulin-controlled diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, or
hypertention that requires medication. We can discuss your personal
situation at your consultation visit.
What are the risks of homebirth?
Homebirth is statistically a safe option for you and your baby
if you have a low-risk pregnancy and receive good prenatal care.
Midwives spend a significant amount of time on preventative
care, so as to keep mothers low-risk. In addition, the
majority of complications of childbirth are due to medical
interventions. By lowering interventions in birth,
midwives help to limit complications. However, no one can
guarantee a completely problem-free birth. A skilled midwife is
trained to watch for signs of problems early on and to use
minimal intervention when necessary. Midwives are trained
and equipped to handle the majority of complications at home,
and can also provide care during the transfer should a need to
transport to a hospital arise.
What is the difference between
a Birth Center and a Homebirth?
A birth at a free-standing birth center, is simply a homebirth
in someone else's "home". I carry the same monitoring
equipment, resuscitation equipment,
oxygen tank, suctioning devices, etc. that is used in a
free-standing birth center. Rarely are they needed, but they are
always there with me. If a client prefers to use a birth
center, I have privileges at two area birth centers.
Does insurance cover midwifery services?
insurance companies do cover midwifery fees. When you come in
for a consultation, my insurance billing service can check what
your particular policy covers. Homebirth with a midwife costs
less than half of what a uncomplicated pregnancy and vaginal
hospital delivery costs. In addition, I provide payment plans
for cash-paying families and also take credit card payments.
What is a prenatal appointment like?
At visits I check the mother's blood pressure, weight gain, the size of
her uterus and test her urine. I listen to and feel the baby, checking
the baby's position, growth and heart rate. Together, we go over the
mother's nutrition, as that is the primary way to prevent many
complications in pregnancy and birth. We spend time talking and going
over questions or concerns. Visits are much longer than your typical
doctor visit, as we take time just to chat and get to know each other.
We address any questions or concerns, discuss choices and options for
care and just spend time getting to know each other, so that I can best
serve you during your labor. The typical schedule of visits is: monthly
visits until 28 weeks, every other week until 36 weeks and then weekly
until baby's birthday. Postpartum visits are at 1-2 days, 1 week, 2
weeks, 4 weeks (as needed) and 6 weeks after birth.