Until very recently, women always had their babies at home in a family setting with the loving presence and support of other women by their sides. Some of these women were specifically trained in birth and were called midwives. Gradually, with the advent of modern medicine, women transitioned to having their babies in a clinical setting in which even normal birth became seen as something to be managed rather than an intense physical, emotional, and spiritual process that required support. While medical care can be amazingly helpful when needed, most births actually require very little intervention.
Choosing to birth in your own home not only affirms that birth is a normal process but also a very intimate one to be shared with those closest to you—your partner and other close loved ones, the baby you’re birthing, and a birth team that you’ve chosen, with whom you’ve built a strong, trusting relationship. Supporting these relationships is part of what makes my work as a midwife so rewarding.
Is homebirth right for you?
Women and their families choose homebirth for a variety of reasons. The best way to find out if homebirth is right for you is to meet with a midwife—preferably more than one. Click here to schedule a free consultation with me. I’ll do my best to answer your questions and give you a sense of what homebirth is all about.
The Midwives Model of Care
The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes.
The Midwives Model of Care includes:
- monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle;
- providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support;
- minimizing technological interventions; and
- identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention.
The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.
As a homebirth midwife, I devote a lot of time and energy to building a relationship with each client based on trust, mutual respect and a belief that with information and support, a woman can make the best choices for her pregnancy and birth. My priority is to offer you the support you need throughout your pregnancy. It’s important to me that you and your partner feel invited into participating in your own health care and that, in addition to ensuring your and your baby’s physical wellbeing, we also create space to celebrate your pregnancy and prepare for your rite of passage into parenthood.
At each appointment, I take the time needed to offer you and your partner information; discuss various options; explore hopes, fears, and birth preferences; and answer any questions you may have. I will also assess your baby’s health in much the same way that a physician would and check in about your own physical and emotional wellbeing, taking time to troubleshoot any discomforts or concerns that may arise. Prenatal appointments include discussions on prenatal nutrition, exercise, herbs, vitamins and supplements, and other beneficial measures you can take to ensure your optimal health.
The prenatal schedule that I follow is:
- One prenatal visit every four weeks until you are 28 weeks pregnant
- One prenatal visit every two weeks until you are 36 weeks pregnant
- One prenatal visit every week until birth
Each appointment runs about two hours. Partners and children are always welcome at these visits and are given plenty of opportunities to participate in the process through listening to fetal heart tones, feeling the baby’s position, etc.
During the birth, my role is to support your family and to monitor labor to make sure all is normal. While I cannot guarantee any specific birth experience, it is my hope that through getting to know each other during your pregnancy, an idea of your hopes and preferences around the birth will emerge. I consider it my responsibility to support you in this, as well as to define the parameters of safety.
Typically, at the first signs of labor we’ll check in by phone. I will join you at your house once you’re in active labor, or whenever you’d like me to be there, and will remain with you continuously until after your baby is born. Periodically, I will listen to your baby’s heart tones using a fetoscope and Doppler ultrasound to make sure that your baby is doing well during labor.
With clients’ permission, I often have an apprentice midwife with me at the labor, and as the birth approaches I call another midwife to assist me at the moment of birth and afterwards. These other support people are usually met at the 36 week home visit.
Every labor is different and each woman’s needs are unique; as the moment calls for, I may offer you any number of physical support tools including massage, herbs, reiki, or homeopathy and can recommend acupuncture or cranial sacral therapy as needed. I also make a birth tub available to all of my clients; many women find that laboring and/or birthing in water provides much needed relief.
As a midwife, I recognize that birth is not only a physical process but also an emotional and spiritual one. I fully acknowledge and honor these dimensions of the process and aim to meet you with compassion and empathy as you engage with the intensity of labor. I offer you love and encouragement through being a calm, reassuring presence to you as you bring your baby into the world.
At the moment of birth I will help the baby be born as gently as possible and support your perineum to prevent tearing. After the birth, I’ll examine you, your baby, and your placenta to make sure all is well. Generally, I’ll stay with you for about 3-5 hours after your baby’s birth, helping to establish breastfeeding and getting things settled before leaving you to enjoy your newborn and rest up.
Midwifery care acknowledges that birth is a beginning and that holistic care allows for you to rest, heal, and be cared for during your first few weeks postpartum. [something about time/space for integrating this new version of the family] This is why I work to help you create a solid support plan for this crucial time. Part of that plan includes postpartum care for you and your baby in your own home. I will come to your house for postpartum visits when your baby is 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, and 14 days old. During these visits, I’ll make sure both you and your baby are healing well, your baby is healthy and gaining weight, and answer any questions you might have. You can also reach me by phone during this time as needed. As part of my services, an Ayurvedic postpartum doula will come to your home during these first two weeks to prepare a nourishing meal and to give you a balancing sesame oil body treatment. At six weeks, we’ll have our final visit at my office.
Choosing a homebirth does not eliminate your options for medical support and interventions when appropriate.