Frequently asked questions
What is a Licensed Midwife?
Midwife means “with woman” in old English, and in its truest meaning is exactly that. A midwife is extensively trained to assist a woman from pregnancy, through labor and birth, and into the postpartum period. She is the pregnant person’s care provider in every sense; she provides comprehensive care including blood work, genetic screening, gestational diabetes screening, and newborn procedures such as vitamin K and erythromycin administration,referrals for ultrasounds as well as active listening and guidance surrounding the normalities and low-risk complications of normal pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Under the care of a midwife there is no need to establish care with an OB if everything stays low-risk and normal. Midwives are always assessing the person and their baby’s care for signs of well-being, and knows the right times to interfere out of medical necessity. We are also trained in resuscitation for mother and baby as well as suturing for mother if needed.
Why home birth? What if there's a problem?
Birthing at home allows you to A) be comfortable in the safety, smells, lighting, etc of your home, B) means you do not have to get in a car while in labor, and C) you can avoid exposing yourself or your baby to foreign bacteria from disease, infections or illness. We are typically most comfortable in our homes; the space where we have created comfort, pleasing aesthetics and ease with our families. It is where we feel most comfortable doing our routines such as using the bathroom, showering/bathing, and making love. Why not have our baby here too? We find that birthing people feel most comfortable and able to open to the vulnerabilities of labor while in the safety and comfort of their space. They have developed immunities to their own home, animals and lifestyle and are less likely to contract illness from an environment rich in other germs. They are uniquely aligned to inoculate their new baby with the microbiome that will provide a healthy digestion and immune system for life.
Does insurance cover the cost for home birth?
At this time insurance coverage varies throughout insurance companies and plans. Typically insurance coverage does not reimburse until after the delivery of your baby. Therefore, it is standard to pay the entire midwifery fee out of pocket before reimbursement. Often this fee is still close to the same you may pay for your deductable or out of pocket charges for birth in the hospital. Once your baby is born, you can file a claim for reimbursement directly from your insurance company.
What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?
The most common question we are asked as midwives! A midwife is a birthing person’s medical care provider. They are responsible for the lives of mother and baby, including assessing risk, monitoring vital signs, evaluating labs, discussing procedures, etc. A doula serves as a physical and emotional support for a birthing person. They are not a medical provider. They are informed about the normalities of labor, birth and postpartum, as well as common procedures. They are able to discuss options and provide support both emotionally, as well as physically including back support, massage, use of rebozo, etc.
Is home birth safe?
Home birth can be very safe as long as a person has had regular prenatal care and has no outstanding risk factors. Home birth is intended for healthy, low-risk clients. Midwives use extensive time in the prenatal period to constantly assess whether someone is a healthy candidate for a home birth. Studies have shown that home birth with the care of midwives has shown a decrease in interventions during labor, cesarean sections and postpartum complications. See links below for evidence on the safety of home birth.
MANA Stats study
This study uses the data collection tool called Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project (MANA Stats) to get accurate reflection of home birth outcomes in the United States. MANA Stats collects information anonymously from midwives about client care from the onset of prenatal care through their last visit postpartum. Midwives enter data nationwide, which allows for a grand collection of birth outcomes for out of hospital birth. This particular study is from 2004-2009 and based on the outcomes for 16,924 planned home births. The outcomes were as follows for the 16,924 clients:
● 89.1% of women gave birth at home
● 93.6% of women had a spontaneous vaginal birth
● 1.2% of women had an assisted vaginal birth (use of forceps and/or vacuum)
● 5.2% of women had a cesarean birth
● 11% of women transferred to the hospital with a majority of transfers being due to
failure to progress and only 4.5% required pitocin in hospital and/or epidural
● 87% successful of those who attempted a VBAC birth
● 86% of babies exclusively breastfed at 6 weeks postpartum and 98% partially
● Half of women had an intact perineum after birth
See more statistics in this project at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24479690
Planned Home Versus Planned Hospital Births for Low-Risk Women: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29408739/
Planned Out of Hospital Birth and Birth Outcomes: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26716916
Assessment of Risk Profiles for Women Electing Out of Hospital Birth: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28332220
Planned Home Birth: Risks, Benefits & Opportunities (international): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399594/
How often do we meet for prenatal visits? What about after my baby is born?
We will see you for prenatal care visits once every 4 weeks until you reach the 28th week of pregnancy. Between 28-36 weeks of pregnancy we see you every 2 weeks and from 36 weeks until you birth we see you once a week. Once your baby is born, we come to your home on day 1, day 3-5 and day 7-10 postpartum. We see you again in the office at 3 weeks and 6 weeks for follow up. If at any point during your care you need an extra visit for support or follow up on a specific issue, we will schedule that with you. Visits are usually around 60 minutes and cover the variety of clinical, emotional and psychosocial aspects of your care. We will leave plenty of time to ask and answer questions and make any recommendations that may be appropriate. Some of your visits may be offered as a virtual appointment.
What are my options for pain relief in labor?
The options you have for pain relief at home are a little different than in hospital or birth center. We encourage an environment high in oxytocin, the love hormone, which is shown to decrease pain by enhancing pleasure. Oxytocin is released with orgasm, sharing love with your family, sharing food, etc. When you birth at home we encourage an oxytocin high environment by keeping voices and lighting low, distractions minimal, and only the people you know and feel safe with. We also use touch as a way to ease your muscles and relax your body. Another tool we have when labor increases is a birth pool. We bring the pool to your home, blow it up and fill it with warm water. Many birthing people find this tremendously helpful due to the warmth as well as release in gravity it offers. Some people choose to birth in the pool as well, or just use it for relief. After the birth we drain the tub and remove it from your home. We do not offer nitrous oxide, narcotics, or an epidural at home.
Do you do waterbirth at home?
Yes! Many birthing people really appreciate being able to use water during their labor and/or want to give birth in the water. We are supportive either way and believe it is a tremendous tool to use. We will keep the water temperature not too hot and not too cold. We want it to be warm enough for the baby to transition smoothly at birth. Water that is too hot can increase the birthing person and baby’s heartbeat. We include the use of a birth tub (if available) in our care package fee. We typically drop it off in your home at your home visit at 36 weeks pregnancy, then drain and take it with us after the birth. There is some extra associated cost with using it such as a new hose, a faucet adapter and a new tub liner.