Midwifery & Home Birth
What is a midwife?
Midwife means “with woman”. A midwife is a trained health professional who helps healthy women during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and after the birth of their babies. Midwives may deliver babies at birthing centers or at home, or can also have hospital privileges. Our midwives exclusively offer home birth.
Midwives can have different levels of training:
- Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are registered nurses who have graduated from an accredited nurse-midwifery education program and have passed a national exam.
- Certified midwives (CMs) are non-nurse midwives who have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a health field, have completed an accredited midwifery education program, and have passed a national exam.
- Certified professional midwives (CPMs) are non-nurse midwives who have clinical experience in childbirth, are specifically trained and skilled in childbirth outside of the hospital, and have passed a national exam. Some CPMs hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Direct-Entry Midwifery.
New Birth Midwifery midwives have CPM certification and are also licensed in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Myth vs Fact
Home birth isn’t as safe as a hospital birth.
CPMs are specifically trained to help women who are experiencing a normal pregnancy, to birth in a comfortable, safe environment – your own home. As midwives we went through rigorous clinical training and we regularly take continuing education courses as part of our certification and license requirements. We keep current on new research and make sure we are always offering evidence based care to our clients. We also hold current certifications in infant and adult CPR and neonatal resuscitation (NRP). Additionally, we are trained to administer and carry allopathic medications for stopping a mom from bleeding too much after birth but rarely need to use them because we are able to help in other ways first – our preferred first course of action is to use herbal tinctures or homeopathics.
We would love to dive deeper into this question with you – feel free to reach out and ask for a free consultation!
Home birth with a midwife is becoming a lot more common.
Interestingly enough, although the total percentage of people choosing an out-of-hospital birth is still much less than in hospital, we have seen a sharp increase in the interest overall. Also, more and more people who would consider themselves fairly mainstream are even looking into homebirth now whereas when NBM was started in 2009 that wasn’t the case. People are choosing it now more than ever because they are realizing through documentaries and research (especially from other countries with better birth outcomes than ours) that pregnancy and birth are not illnesses so why go to a hospital where the sick people are?
Home birth is really messy.
We talk with you prenatally about a few supplies to order and have on hand ahead of time – simple things like double making your bed with old sheets and a mattress protector in between them to make the bed ready for birth and then quickly clean and ready for mom and baby after mom gets up to use the toilet. We help you gather the supplies you need and then because we are all set ahead of time, the midwives have many tricks up their sleeves to make cleaning up a breeze! The family doesn’t even need to do any heavy lifting – we want you guys in bed cuddling with your newest addition!
Home birth is often covered by insurance.
We have seen an increase in insurance reimbursement due to the Affordable Care Act which mandates that insurance companies (with a few exceptions) allow for prenatal care to be 100% covered without the deductible being met first. Because we have a much lower overhead (no big hospital or staff or malpractice to pay for) we are able to bill a much lower cost for care – our total package is $4,800 compared to the same birth in a hospital which is about $17,000 as of 2015. The only big difference is that we are out-of-network providers so that might hit your insurance differently than your local hospital or birthing center. We have a wonderful insurance biller we use who will get you a quote on your insurance coverage and do a test claim following your initial visit, so you can have a general idea for what you can expect from your specific insurance plan. Last but not least, if you are not yet pregnant and have the option to choose a different kind of insurance, we would highly recommend you looking into a Health Sharing Company such as Samaritan Ministry, CHM or Liberty. They are much easier to work with than regular insurance companies.
If you give birth at home, you will need to have a water birth.
Although about 90% of our clients want and have chosen a water birth for many reasons, if you are not a water fan or your place is just not big enough for a pool to be set up that is not a problem. We are very good at helping women who want what we call “land births” as well. 🙂 You can also just have the pool set up and labor in it and we will tell you when to get out to get the maximum benefits from deep water immersion during labor and still deliver on land.
Giving birth at home without interventions is possible.
In fact, in England, moms who are pregnant for the second time are strongly encouraged to hire a midwife instead of a doctor for the birth because the complication and intervention rates are lower and of course because the government is paying – it’s cheaper!
Midwives are trained to see birth as a normal life event that can sometimes need a professional to help it stay normal; whereas a doctor who attends births is usually an OB and as a trained surgeon they spend much more time learning about complications and surgery than normal; their training often leads them to see birth as a complication waiting to happen.
We never talk women into home birth – it has to feel like the right decision for you! However, in your own home, you are the boss and we as your midwives are your guests. That alone makes such a huge difference in a woman’s confidence and ability to trust her body that grew this baby well, to also birth this baby well. We aren’t bound by protocols that require us to treat all clients the same as many hospitals do and because of that are able to provide individualized care each and every time.
People who choose to birth outside of the hospital are anti-hospital.
We have a motto that says, “Birthing Naturally, Birthing Safely.” This to us means that we take a holistic approach to care – looking at the big picture each time, spending an hour for prenatals when we could do them in 15 minutes because we want to know what’s really going on with each of our clients and we want to help educate them on their choices for interventions or options in care so they can make an informed decision and be a part of their own care team. We believe that birth is a normal, natural life event and we help to keep it that way by entering into a woman’s life at a very special time and helping her to build trust with her care providers – the very ones who will attend her birth.
“Birthing Naturally, Birthing Safely” does not mean, however, that we or our clients are anti-hospital. We do believe that not all women should deliver outside of the hospital – only low risk mommas. Women with high blood pressure or diabetes needing medications would be better cared for in a hospital setting by an OB and supported by a doula, however that is not most women. We have developed good relationships with care providers who help our clients when they need extra care and if we do end up in a hospital setting, we accompany them to make sure they are still well cared for throughout; continuity of care is an important aspect of midwifery care. We know that if we end up in the hospital with a couple who had hoped for home birth that it is not a “failed homebirth” by any means, instead it is another success because to us the most important thing is healthy mom, healthy baby – not the location of the birth.