Natural Pregnancy Questions & Midwifery Questions
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- What is the best time to start midwife care?
- You may come as early in your pregnancy as you wish, or even for preconception or well-woman care prior to pregnancy. If you are pregnant, the earlier you start the more care you receive. It is not uncommon, however, to make the decision to have a home birth late in a pregnancy. Remember, it is never too late to decide to have a home birth if you have a low-risk pregnancy.
- What if I can't handle the pain of a natural birth?
- Women have given birth for thousands of years . . . you have within yourself everything you need. When a woman is surrounded by a knowledgeable guide, allowed to labor spontaneously, massaged and encouraged, she finds inner resources and strength she never knew she had. Also, laboring in a comfortable, low-stress environment encourages the body's natural painkillers to take effect. These endorphins allow women to enter a new, yet natural, threshold of stamina, which does not create risk for the baby like drugs can.
- Is home birth safe?
Yes. For low-risk pregnancies, it has been shown to be as safe as physician-attended births in hospitals, yet with even lower intervention and infection rates than in the hospital. In fact, the 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.
Healthy childbirth is a natural, normal process, which can be safely attended at home by a trained professional. By having your baby at home with a midwife you are 90% more likely to avoid an intervention in your birth, you are 88% more likely to have a successful breastfeeding relationship with your baby and you are much less likely to receive a caesarean section.
But don't take our word for it. A study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, another published in the British Medical Journal and a statement issued by the World Health Organization all concur. Click on the titles to read more.
A two-year study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that a planned home birth with an experienced attendant is safer than a hospital birth. The results of the study showed that the infant death rate in hospitals was 12 per 1,000 live births, whereas the death rate for planned, attended home births was 4 per 1,000 live births. *Center for Disease Control, "Live births by place of delivery and race of mother, 1992", section 1, Natality, page 246
A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2005 concluded that planned home births for low-risk women was associated with less intervention, no additional neonatal risk than that of hospital births, and a much higher degree of satisfaction by the birthing women.
In 1990, the World Health Organization stated that using midwife care during pregnancy and childbirth led to more favorable outcomes for mothers and babies and urged all countries to offer midwifery education, confident that the increased availability of midwives would improve birth outcomes throughout the world.
- What is the fee and what does it include?
- The fee for home birth varies depending on where in the country you are and what the individual midwife charges. The range can be anywhere from $1,800- $6,500. Fees include prenatal care, hands-on continuous support during labor and birth, assistants during the birth, breastfeeding support and post-birth visits.
- Are midwife fees covered by insurance?
- Often, yes. Many midwives accept insurance or help you get reimbursement for the fees. However, not all insurances cover midwifery care. Check with the insurance provider.
- Can I have a home birth if I've had a C-section previously?
- Yes! If you and your baby are healthy and your pregnancy is progressing normally, you can have a vaginal birth at home.
- I'm over 35. Can I have a home birth?
- Yes! If you are healthy and have no health risk factors, you can have a home birth.
- Can I give birth in water?
- Yes! Many women find that water is soothing during labor and birth. You decide where and how you want to labor and birth. You are in control. Your midwife will assist you in determining if birth in or out of the tub suits your individual childbirth.
- What if something goes wrong?
Throughout your pregnancy, labor and birth your midwife will regularly assess you and your baby's health. If you begin labor healthy, you should expect to have a normal, natural childbirth.
Midwives are experts in normal, natural childbirth. They have been trained to recognize the early signs of medical complications that may occasionally arise. In the rare circumstance a complication occurs, midwives are prepared with oxygen, neo-natal resuscitation equipment, anti-hemorrhagic methods as well as a transport plan should something arise that cannot or should not be handled at home. In that case she will transport to your local hospital and stay with you throughout your birth as your advocate.
Generally any woman who is in good health and has a low-risk pregnancy can consider a home birth. Women who have a high-risk medical history such as heart disease, early onset diabetes, injury which has changed their pelvic shape, or who develop uncontrollable toxemia of pregnancy should be under the care of an obstetrician. Woman who cannot quit smoking or who are addicted to drugs or alcohol will want to birth in a hospital for the safety of the baby.
Certain normal situations such as carrying twins or a breech baby need to be evaluated carefully but can be considered for a home birth in individual cases.