As indicated by the resurgence of midwives, many women are now looking to give birth in their own homes rather than in the traditional hospital environment. Once considered a dangerous endeavor, home birth is now viewed as a way for women to “take the reigns” in a situation that’s typically dominated by medical intervention.
Even celebrity moms are taking part: Gisele Bundchen’s high-profile pregnancy resulted in a home water birth, while former Blossom star Mayim Bialik is the spokesperson for the Holistic Moms Network, a New Jersey-based group that advocates for natural home births, and Ricki Lake recently created a documentary The Business of Being Born, which examines the differences between home birth and medical care.
Though certainly not for everyone (women experiencing high-risk pregnancies should not have a home birth), some women find that home birth is a much more enjoyable experience, complete with the soothing comforts of home that a hospital just cannot provide. While not the most prevalent birth method, midwives and doulas are starting to enter the mainstream, despite some protests from doctors and nurses.
If you’re considering a home birth, the most important task is choosing a midwife. This requires extensive research, as you need to make sure you’re 100% comfortable with who will be delivering your baby. There are various private midwife agencies around the United States. Interview as many women as possible and check their references – never be pressured by someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
Once you’ve chosen a midwife, she’ll assess both your pregnancy and your home to make sure that you’re a candidate for home birth. Keep in mind that private insurances may help to cover costs, but some births are not covered, and you will be responsible for all fees incurred during that time.
Midwives bring standard medical equipment to ensure that birth goes smoothly, but you can go to the hospital at any point if you feel as if you or your baby is in danger. Have a back-up birthing location chosen, and a birth plan and hospital bag packed in case you transfer. The most important factor is the health of you and your baby, so always do what’s right for you.
Post-birth, you’ll find that midwives are very involved in the early stages of your baby’s life, from helping your learn how to breastfeed and then visiting daily to make sure you and your baby are healthy and happy.