We are completely transparent regarding our experiences with home birth. We welcome questions and discussion that will help you decide where and with whom you would like to have your baby.
IS HOME BIRTH SAFE?
Healthy childbirth is a natural, normal process which can be safely attended at home by a trained professional midwife. Throughout most of the world, and most of history, women have labored and birthed with midwives. It is only in the last several decades that birth has become medicalized and it has become common to birth in a hospital setting with a doctor. Birth is a natural process, not a sickness. With a normal, healthy pregnancy women can birth safely and comfortably at home with a midwife. Countries with the lowest mortality and morbidity rates are those countries where midwifery is an integral part of obstetric care and where home birth is commonly practiced.
A 2-year study conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control indicates that a planned home birth with an experienced attendant is actually safer than or as safe as a hospital birth. In 1990 the World Health Organization joined together with the International Conference of Midwives to issue a statement that when midwifery was utilized for pregnancy and childbirth, outcomes for mothers and babies were more favorable. Together the two organizations urged all countries to offer midwifery education, confident that the increased availability of more midwives would improve birth outcomes throughout the world.
A 2014 study of over 16,000 women birthing at home in the United States found that a planned homebirth and midwifery care for low-risk, healthy women resulted in few interventions during labor (4.5% of women had oxytocin augmentation and/or epidural analgesia) and a low cesarean rate (5.2%). The study showed that 89.1% of these women birthed at home, which is consistent with HMC’s rates of home delivery vs. transfer to the hospital.
Licensed midwives are trained to recognize and resolve complications of labor, to resuscitate newborns according to the principles of the Neonatal Resuscitation Program by the AAP, and to carry and administer medication and oxygen for postpartum hemorrhage or other complications.
WHO CAN GIVE BIRTH AT HOME?
Any woman who is in good health can consider a home birth. Women who have a high risk medical history such as heart disease, early onset diabetes, or injury which has changed their pelvic shape, or who develop uncontrollable toxemia of pregnancy should be under the care of an obstetrician.
WHAT IF I’VE HAD A C-SECTION PREVIOUSLY?
If you and your baby are healthy and your pregnancy is progressing, normally, you can have a vaginal birth at home.
DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
If you have health insurance with maternity benefits, for a small fee we offer the service of submitting a claim to receive a verification of benefits (VOB) from your insurance carrier. You may also contact your insurance on your own to determine coverage options. If the VOB indicates coverage, we will make a claim after your birth for all of your prenatal care, labor and birth, and postpartum care. Sometimes your insurance carrier may agree to reimburse your costs for homebirth only after the birth. Therefore we still require full payment by the 36th week.
If you are a subscriber to an insurance company and believe they will cover the costs of homebirth, we recommend initiating a claim for a VOB as soon as possible. Insurance companies are currently reevaluating how they reimburse out of hospital costs, which includes homebirth. We have found that insurance companies may pay for out-of-hospital birth with a licensed midwife as an out-of-network provider.
Most insurance companies cover Birth Center births fully or partially.
WHAT ABOUT LAB WORK AND ULTRASOUND?
Your insurance will usually cover lab work, ultrasound, physician consultation, and hospital birth (if needed).
WHAT HAPPENS IF TWO WOMEN GO INTO LABOR ON THE SAME DAY?
While this happens rarely, it is not a problem for our practice since there are two midwives. In the event that two women are laboring at the same time there will be at least one midwife and a trained labor assistant with whom you are familiar at your birth.
WHAT PRENATAL TESTS DO YOU ROUTINELY RECOMMEND AND/OR REQUIRE?
You will be offered all prenatal tests and screening currently available to pregnant women in the United States. For each test and/or screen you will be given information on the condition or disease being screened for, information about the test and/or screen itself, information to help understand the range of results and how the results may affect your care. You can then make a decision about whether or not to do a particular test/screen.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH LOSS?
We are intimately aware of the inherent possibility of risk in birth, no matter where the birth takes place or what decisions we make. For families who have chosen out of hospital birth, we are familiar with the additional questioning and scrutiny that can accompany an unforeseen outcome at home.
In more than twenty five years attending home births and more than 800 births, we have experienced a variety of adverse outcomes including Down syndrome, spina bifida, anencephaly, cleft palate, heart defects and stillborns. For each of these families the joy of birth was tempered by the realization that their new baby had serious medical issues, some which were incompatible with life. We have been there as intimate support with these families as they navigated through their unexpected challenges.