Behind the scenes – my answers to a student’s interview about home birth
Hello, I am high school senior taking Child Development and we’re currently discussing different birth options. I’m doing a project over the views about home birth compared to hospital births. If at all possible, I would love to get the perspective of a midwife.”
I’m happy to answer your questions! Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the birthing options available for women today, and how they differ. There’s no one “right way” for prenatal care and delivery, but there are very different approaches. It’s important to consider which one is right for you for each pregnancy. The best way to do that is to ask good questions!
Question 1) What do you do as a midwife?
I provide complete prenatal care, labor & birth support and services as well as postpartum support through about 6 weeks after the birth.
This includes prenatal visits once a month until 28 weeks, then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks and then weekly through birth. I do all routine labs, same as an OB, throughout pregnancy.
I am on call for my clients 24/7.
I go to their house when they need me in labor (this varies for each client, but keeping in touch over the phone in early labor helps us to decide together when I should come).
I provide labor support and help to deliver/catch their baby; I perform all vital signs in labor and postpartum. I typically leave between 3-5 hours after a birth.
Between 24-48 later I return to the home for their first postpartum visit where I check on mom and baby. Vital signs are performed on both and newborn assessments including CCHD screening and the first NBS are performed.
The client and baby come to my office between day 4-5 postpartum for vital sign and emotional/adjustment assessment, and we help with breastfeeding support as needed.
Another postpartum visit is done between days 10-14 for vital signs and to perform the second NBS.
The final postpartum appointment is done at 6 weeks and includes a physical exam for mom and pap smear if needed. We discuss contraception and returning to work/pre-baby activities.
Question 2) Why did you become a midwife?
All my life I wanted to be a “baby doctor;” my father was a MD so when my parents said “Obstetrician,” I went with it.
Life happened and when my husband and I met, married and started a family right away, I knew I had a choice to make. Having lived with a doctor as a parent I knew there was a lot of sacrifice and time commitment that would need to be made, and as the “mom” didn’t feel I had that opportunity.
That being said I decided to pursue a business degree because it could be used no matter what I ended up doing. Fast-forward a bit and when my husband and I were trying to conceive baby #4 (in the Spring of 2008), I started looking up alternatives. I didn’t want to be induced again, or have an epidural; that’s when I discovered midwifery.
After thoroughly researching, I found it answered much more than my original question of how to have a better birth experience; I also discovered this was the calling and relationship that I had wanted all along! I felt like I needed to experience it first as a client before I could become a midwife and encourage people in something I had not even done myself.
After the birth of my daughter in 2009 I enrolled in the ATM-MTP program. My heart and passion has always been mothers and babies, and I had finally found the right venue to live that out!
As a midwife I am able to educate and empower! The smaller client load and much more personalized care allows me to do that each and every time.
Question 3) What are the benefits of a home birth vs a hospital birth?
Of course this answer can vary depending on who you ask! But you asked me, so here we go.
Overall, the top benefits are:
- Personalized/tailored care
- The ability to choose your care providers (yes, I realize people choose their OB’s too; however, when you have a baby at the hospital you generally spend WAY more time with whatever nurse is on duty – who you do NOT get to choose – rather than the OB you hired)
- The quality and quantity of time spent in appointments leading up to and following delivery (I spend an hour at each visit with my clients, and some postpartum visits are 90 minutes)
- Your family being in the comfort of your home (dad doesn’t have to sleep on a chair/short couch; other children can be present if desired)
- Your husband gets to be part of the birth and not shrink back in a corner because he feels out of his element and inferior in a hospital setting
- You get informed CHOICE! (We don’t do things to you just because. We educate and empower along the way so YOU can choose)
- You can wear what you want, eat/drink as you want, move around, get in a position YOU want – NOT what’s most comfortable for the healthcare provider
- Cost (it costs less to have a baby at home vs at the hospital for self-pay clients, i.e. those without insurance)
Let me know if this jogs any other thoughts/questions for you. I’m happy to help!
Interview the Midwife, part 2 – On the use of drugs in childbirth