frequently asked questions
Curious about midwifery and home birth?
1. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A LICENSED MIDWIFE?
Licensed midwives are autonomous providers educated in midwifery and licensed by the California Medical Board to provide comprehensive care for pregnancy and birth in an out of hospital setting as well as routine gynecological care. Licensed midwives are also certified in Basic Life Support and Neonatal Resuscitation.
2. IS HOME BIRTH SAFE?
Birth is a normal. Even though birth carries some inherent risk in any setting, normal physiogic birth is not a medical emergency and should not be treated as such. Having your baby at home is an excellent option for healthy low risk individuals. Safety is our primary goal, and a healthy parent and a healthy baby is of paramount importance. We use our education, knowledge, skills, and intuition to work collaboratively with you to reduce the risk of complications for you and your baby. At each prenatal visit we assess your physical and emotional wellbeing as well as your baby's. If a condition arises that is cause for concern, we refer you to an appropriate medical provider. Sometimes we can continue your care in collaboration with that provider, and somtimes it means that you are no longer a good candidate for midwifery care at all. We bring equipment and supplies with us to your home to help keep you and your baby as safe as possible during the labor, birth, and postpartum periods. We carry oxygen, IV equipment and fluids, medications to treat hemorrhage, resuscitation equipment in case your little one needs help breathing, suture material for repairing first and second degree vaginal tears, numbing medication, urinary catheters, and herbs and homeopathic remedies to name a few.
Recent scientific studies support the safety and outcomes of midwifery and homebirth:
- Does A Larger Role For Midwives Mean Better Care?
"In communities that are most at risk for adverse outcomes, increased access to midwives who can work as part of the health care system may improve both outcomes and the mothers' experience," Vedam said.
That's because of the midwifery model, which emphasizes community-based care, close relationships between providers and patients, prenatal and postpartum wellness, and avoiding unnecessary interventions that can spiral into dangerous complications, said Jennie Joseph, a British-trained midwife who runs Commonsense Childbirth, a Florida birthing center and maternal care nonprofit.
Read the entire study here.
- New Studies Confirm Safety of Home Birth with Midwives in the U.S.
The results of this study ... confirm the safety and overwhelmingly positive health benefits for low-risk [parents] and babies who choose to birth at home with a midwife. At every step of the way, midwives are providing excellent care. This study enables families, providers and policymakers to have a transparent look at the risks and benefits of planned home birth as well as the health benefits of normal physiologic birth.
Read the entire study here.
3. IS HOME BIRTH MESSY?
It’s a point of honor for homebirth midwives to leave your home as clean or cleaner than we found it. We will take out any trash from the birth and even throw in a load of laundry if your washer is easy to access. The only evidence that you had a homebirth will be your sweet new baby in your arms.
4. IF I HAD A CESAREAN CAN I HAVE A HOME BIRTH?
Birthing rights are human rights and we support choice in childbirth. Most folks with one prior cesarean birth are good candidates for an an HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean), but we can't tell you for certain until we review your particular health history. Please feel free to scedule a consult to discuss your options.
5. IF I LIVE IN A TINY PLACE CAN I STILL HAVE MY BABY AT HOME?
Midwives have caught babies in the confines of tiny studio apartment bathrooms, house boats, attics, walk in closests. We are happy to attend your birth regardless of the size of your home.
6. CAN I HAVE MY BABY IN THE WATER?
YES! We offer water birth and provide our clients with a soft or hard tub for no additional fee.
7. IS THERE PAIN RELIEF AT HOME?
Your body was made for labor and birth. Throughout your prenatal visits we nurture and develop your trust in your body and its ability to birth. When you begin labor you are in your own familiar home where you can create the environment that feels the most relaxing to you. Low lightning, quiet voices, soft music, aromatherapy, the freedom to listen to your body's needs for food, drink, movement, and rest all help you cope with the intensity of labor and birth. Warm water can be very relaxing and midwives often call the birth tub the "homebirth epidural." During labor, your body also produces natural hormones and other support to further aid in your ability to cope and surrender to the process.
8. WHAT IF I END UP NEEDING TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL?
During the prenatal care, we create a hospital transport plan. Most low-risk folks who are appropriate candidates for a homebirth stay at home. In the rare case that a client needs to go to the hospital we do so in a calm manner. Most transfers are non-urgent and do not require an ambulance. We call ahead and let the hospital staff know that we were on our way. We stay with you at every step of the way, giving you information to help you to navigate recommended procedures and courses of care, and providing emotional support until your baby is safely born and you are both resting together. Postpartum appointments then continue as normal, including our usual breast/chestfeeding and parenting support.
9. DO YOU TAKE INSURANCE?
Clients pay our fee directly to us before the due date. We ask for a deposit at your initial visit and then we discuss a payment plan. We use a medical billing service that can help you obtain reimbursement for your miwifery care if you have PPO insurance that covers out of network providers. Please note that the insurance claim is submitted after the six week postpartum visit and not before in order to get you the best possible reimbursement. If you have HMO insurance or Kaiser coverage, you may want to consider concurrent care with an in-network provider for part of your pregnancy so that any testing you want will be covered by your insurance, resulting in less out-of-pocket expense for you.