Who is involved in a Home Birth?
Each birth is special and includes a unique set of needs for that special day. Below is a list of professionals that may be involved in a home birth.
Midwife means "with woman." Traditionally, women have attended and assisted other women during labor and birth. As modern
medicine emerged, birth became a medical event that
took place in the hospital with a doctor. Childbirth
was viewed as pathological rather than a normal,
natural process, and unnecessary medical
techniques and interventions became common.
During the 1960s and 1970s homebirth and
the midwifery movement came back to life
and has been growing ever since. Midwives are
becoming more involved with birthing families and
are helping redefine birth as the normal, natural
event that it is.
Midwives are skilled professionals who provide
personalized, more natural care in a variety of settings,
including birth centers, homes and hospitals. The Tri-Cities area is blessed with several homebirth midwives.
Because choosing a midwife is a very important decision, it is important to understand the different types of midwives.
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) - A CNM is a registered nurse with an additional degree in midwifery. She usually works in a hospital and/or a birth center. Some CNMs also do homebirths.
Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) - A CPM has received specialized midwifery education and training in out-of-hospital birth and has been certified by the North American Registry of Midwives. Her focus is homebirth and birth center births.
Licensed Midwife (LM) - A Licensed Midwife has received specialized midwifery education and training in out-of-hospital birth and is licensed through the state. Her focus is homebirth and birth center birth.
Lay Midwife - A Lay Midwife has acquired her skills through self study and an apprenticeship with an experienced midwife. Her focus is homebirth.
A doula is a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the birthing family before, during and after childbirth. Doulas are trained professionals who understand the needs of mothers and their families during this time. Research has proven that continuous support from a doula during labor provides physical and emotional benefits for moms and babies. A doula is not a Dr., nurse or midwife. She is not trained to make medical decisions. However, her training includes learning about the usual medical interventions so that she can explain them to parents and they can then make an informed choice regarding their care. Doulas offer support in hospitals, birth centers and at homebirths.
What Does a Doula Actually do to Help the Mother?
Meets with the family during the third trimester to get to know them and learn in detail what their expectations and wishes are for their birth and what the mother has found helpful to encourage her to relax and cope in stressful situations.
Provides education and resources about pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn.
Helps develop a birth plan.
Attends labor and birth as a support for the pregnant woman and her family.
Offers breastfeeding support, education and resources for the postpartum period.
Student Midwife or
Trained Birth Assistant
For safety reasons, there is always a specially trained birth assistant, student midwife or a second midwife who attends each birth with your midwife. Both student and assistant are trained in emergency situations and are required to have current CPR and neonatal resuscitation certification. They may help monitor blood pressure, fetal heart tones, pulse & respiration or assist the midwife in monitoring baby & mama postpartum. They are there primarily to assist the midwife in ensuring mom and baby are doing well, and provide emotional and physical support to mom as able.
Frequently Asked Questions
At Natural Care Midwifery its important to us that you have the knowledge you need to make informed decisions for you and your family. If you have additional questions that have not been answered on this page please reach out to us by visiting the Contact page.
Is homebirth safe?
Studies show that homebirth for women with low-risk, healthy pregnancies, attended by qualified birth attendants, are no more risky than birth in a hospital. Women who choose homebirth with a midwife have fewer interventions during labor, birth and the postpartum period. Midwives are trained extensively in “normal” pregnancy and birth and midwife-led care results in better birth outcomes.
What equipment do you bring to the birth?
We bring everything that you would find in a free-standing birth center:
Oxygen and resuscitation bag/mask
Medications and herbs to stop heavy bleeding
Doppler for monitoring baby during labor
Blood pressure monitoring equipment
Vitamin K and Erythromycin eye ointment for baby
Suction to clear baby’s airway
Pulse oximeter to monitor oxygen levels
Sterile instruments for birth
Sterile instruments and medication for suture if needed
Scales for weighing baby
What if something goes wrong?
90-95% of the time there are signs that things are not going well before it becomes a problem. Midwives are trained to recognize these warning signs and act appropriately. At times, something as simple as a change of position or rehydrating mom solves the problem. If necessary your midwife will accompany you to the hospital where you can receive the additional care that you need.
What are the most common reasons for not being able to have a homebirth?
High blood pressure or signs of preeclampsia
Heart or lung disease
Alcohol or drug use
Labor before 37 wks gestation
Labor that does not start after 42 wks
Signs of an unhealthy mom or baby during the prenatal period or during labor
Is homebirth messy?
Your birth kit of supplies contains all the disposable underpads and things that you would find in the hospital. You are instructed to cover your mattress with plastic and have some extra plastic to place on the carpet near your bed or the birth pool, depending on where you deliver. The birth pool will be drained and the garbage taken out. Your midwife and assistant will not only clean things up, but make your bed and start your birth laundry. When we leave you will hardly even know we were there.
I live in an apartment. Can you do a homebirth in an apartment?
Yes we can, but if you are not comfortable with your living situation and would like to have a birth outside the hospital there are other options. Give me a call and we can talk.
Do I also need to see an obstetrician during my care with a midwife?
No, your midwife is trained and certified to care for you throughout your pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. The only time that you would need to see an obstetrician would be if a complication were to arise that was outside of the scope of practice of your midwife.
How do you get a birth certificate and social security card for your baby when you have a homebirth?
Your midwife will file for a state birth certificate and a social security card for your baby. You will then be able to go online or to your local health department and purchase a certified copy of the birth certificate. The social security card will be sent to your home within 3-4 weeks.