Why Home Birth?
An excerpt from The Homebirth Choice by Jill Cohen
"In most cultures throughout history, women have given birth at home. The majority of women worldwide continue to birth their babies in non-hospital settings today. In many cultures birth is viewed as an integral part of family life...
Today, a carefully monitored homebirth has been proven to be very safe and successful for women who have been helped to stay low-risk through nutrition and good prenatal care. (See Johnson,K.C., and B.A. Daviss. 2005. Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America. BMJ 330: 1416)
A mother choosing a homebirth must, above all else, deeply desire to give birth at home. The most successful homebirthers are highly committed and trust their body’s natural ability to birth. They devote time and energy to finding the right birth practitioner, doing their own research and taking care of themselves. For some mothers, the prospect of being at home in familiar surroundings provides tremendous comfort and reassurance."
The complete article first appeared in Midwifery Today, 1992.
Updated September 2008. | Excerpted for brevity on this site May 2020.
Did you know?
Midwives are trained to recognize and handle complications should they occur. Should a problem arise, the midwife consults with a physician who is on call. If necessary, the woman and/or baby can be transported to a local hospital. However, only about five percent (5%) of first-time, low-risk mothers will need hospital attention, while the other ninety-five percent (95%) will birth successfully at home. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of low-risk mothers who have birthed vaginally before will birth successfully at home.
Birth Package Includes:
- Complete prenatal services
- Prenatal counseling
- Personalized birth planning
- Family-centered services
- Childbirth education
- Labor support
- Lab services
- Water-birth at home option
- Additional routine midwifery services
- Postpartum visits
- Breastfeeding support
Full Midwifery Services$4300
- Includes all office visits
- 1 in-home visit at 34 weeks
- 4 in-home postpartum visits
- Flexible payment options available
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ Question:What does CPM mean?
The credential CPM stands for Certified Professional Midwife. This certification is administered by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), an agency created to evaluate the knowledge and skills of direct-entry midwives. NARM follows the standards set by the National Organization for Competency Assurance, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational, networking and advocacy resources for the credentialing community. The CPM is the only credential available to maternity care providers which requires experience and competency in out-of-hospital birth. The CPM credential is used in the licensure process in most states that license direct-entry midwives. CPMs work with healthy women having a low risk pregnancy and planning to birth outside the hospital. Certified Professional Midwives are experts in unmedicated home or birth center birth, and are trained to recognize and act appropriately to transfer care if pregnancy or birth begins to move outside the range of normal health. Jetta is a CPM and is also Neonatal Resuscitation Certified.
FAQ Question:Can a first-time mother have a home birth?
Yes! Usually first-time labors are a bit longer because your body has never given birth before and has to “figure it out.” It can be very helpful for a first-time mom to remain in her home environment; sometimes labor may stop and start and take time to get going in earnest. A home birth will provide less pressure and is more relaxing than the hospital environment. Labor is an experience that need not be rushed or sped up for anyone's timeline other than what is best for mom and baby.
FAQ Question:The cost of home birth seems expensive, can you explain what is included?
When compared to the cost of a typical, vaginal hospital birth, the home birth fee is still just a small fraction of that. Home birth is quite inexpensive when you consider the overall amount and quality of care provided. Here is a rough estimate of our average time spent with a client:
- 12-14 hours of prenatal visits
- 6-48 hours of labor and birth
- 3-4 hours of immediate postpartum care
- 4-6 hours over 4 individual postpartum visits
Additionally, our fee includes the on-call status for the midwife and assistants, access to midwife by phone 24 hours a day, and the cost of driving to the client’s home.
Typically, even with insurance, you will incur a high fee for a hospital birth along with the fee from your OB office. You may be surprised to find that some insurances do cover out-of-network midwifery expenses. Please check with your insurance provider.
FAQ Question:How does a midwife handle complications?
As a midwife, Jetta is well trained in avoiding and handling complications. Normal births are our “specialty”! Jetta's intuition and instinct are consciously developed and put to use in her care, backed by education and training. Problems in labor usually develop slowly, allowing enough time for the mother to be safely transferred, if needed. A good midwife always comes prepared with an excellent emergency plan, created specifically for each mother based on her needs and location. Jetta carries the proper tools with which to control hemorrhage or other complications if the need arises. Jetta is also Neonatal Resuscitation Certified, and equipped to attend to an infant in distress. As an added benefit, because your midwife will come to know you on a more intimate level than an OB would during your prenatal visits, she is also equipped to help you handle emotional issues that might arise during birth.
FAQ Question:Will Insurance cover a home birth with a CPM?
Maybe. Since a large majority of women give birth in a hospital setting, most insurance companies don’t know how to process the rare home birth claim. If you call your insurance company with regards to midwifery care, most will tell you they won’t cover a home birth. However, some send reimbursement checks anyway. We can provide you with a receipt at 6 weeks postpartum, which will include all services received (prenatal care, birth, and postpartum care). You may submit your receipt to your insurance company if you wish. Your insurance company may reimburse some, all, or none of the fee. Some clients have pursued their insurance company for explanation of refusal and received reimbursement. So it may well be worth the effort!
FAQ Question:Who can attend my home birth?
One of the best things about having a home birth is having ultimate control over your environment. You are welcome to invite whomever you would like to attend your birth. During your prenatal visits we will speak with you about how to plan for the birth, as well as how to consider other people attending. Most often, women want their home birth to be a fairly quiet and private event with their partner. However, many women are comforted by the presence of another nurturing, supportive family member, friend, or their older children.
FAQ Question:When should I begin care?
Ideally care should begin with preconception planning – discussing history and lifestyle choices that could affect the pregnancy outcome. Preconception planning with a midwife would include recommendations for diet, exercise, supplements, lab work and more. Education on general health is important in pregnancy, and planning in advance allows us to address questions on a variety of subjects.
If you are already pregnant, it is best to find the right care provider as early as possible. Establishing a trusting and comfortable relationship is important, and it can be helpful to have someone to call for questions as different situation arise. As with most midwives, we do not charge for an initial consultation or interview.
FAQ Question:Can I experience a water birth at home?
Yes! Water birth is an excellent choice for women seeking to birth at home.
Treat yourself and your baby to warm, luxurious water to cradle you and give you complete freedom of movement during labor and birth. Opting to labor and birth in water is an excellent way to take charge of your birth experience and help facilitate a gentle birth.
We will even assist you with the rental of a birth pool for your home birth! Many women enjoy laboring in water, even if they opt to move to a bed for the actual birth. The choice is yours and can essentially be made right up until the moment you deliver.
FAQ Question:What is water immersion in a water birth?
Water immersion is defined as providing a depth of water which enables the mother to sit in water that covers her belly completely and comes up to her breast level, or kneel in water on her haunches with water coming up to just below her breast level. Any amount of water less than this does not constitute true immersion and will not create the buoyancy effect and produce the chemical and hormonal changes which enhance a more rapid labor. The chemical and hormonal effects of immersion take effect after about twenty minutes and peak around ninety minutes.
FAQ Question:Is water birth a safe option?
Water birth is wonderfully safe option for many mothers, and provides many benefits to laboring mothers and their babies.
- Buoyancy facilitates mobility and enables the mother freedom to assume any comfortable position
- Water is soothing, comforting, and relaxing
- Water provides significant pain relief
- Immersion and buoyancy conserves a mother's energy
- Water immersion reduces the need for pain medication and other medical interventions
- Water immersion provides perineal support, decreasing the risk of tearing during delivery, and reducing the need of an episiotomy
- Buoyancy promotes more efficient uterine contractions and improved blood circulation and oxygenation
You can read more about the safety and effectiveness of water birth here: Evidence Based Birth. If you are considering a home water birth, we highly recommend you peruse the articles on this site for more information!