“Whenever and however you give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body and your spirit for the rest of your life.”
—Ina May Gaskin, CPM
Pregnancy and birth are major life events and rites of passage which deserve honor. Your and your baby’s birth experience can have tremendous impact on all facets of your life going forward, so having your best possible birth cannot be overvalued. For many families this means giving birth at home with the care of a midwife.
Research shows that homebirth with a trained midwife is a safe option for low-risk pregnancies (see Resources). Large prospective studies have demonstrated that the rates of interventions are far lower for homebirths compared to births in hospitals, without any statistically significant increase in negative outcomes.
In the U.S., low-risk women/birthing people who planned a homebirth had a cesarean rate of just 5.2%, compared with a 31% cesarean section rate in the hospital. Homebirth is also associated with dramatically lower rates of induction, episiotomy, infection, and preterm birth, as well as, with greatly improved breastfeeding/lactation outcomes, and higher overall birth satisfaction.
“Experiences have clearly shown that an approach which ‘de-medicalizes’ birth, restores dignity and humanity to the process of childbirth, and returns control to the mother is also the safest approach.”
—Michel Odent, MD, OB/GYN
Among the many benefits of homebirth with a midwife:
- Avoiding unnecessary interventions and strict timetables
- Choosing who you want with you at your birth (including your baby’s siblings)
- Laboring undisturbed and moving freely as you choose
- Eating and drinking whatever you crave to keep up your strength and energy
- Staying in your own biologically compatible environment
- Laboring in water and/or having a water birth
- “Catching” your own baby or having a loved one “catch”
- Trusting that uninterrupted bonding time for you and your baby will be prioritized
- Working with a provider who values the power and beauty of birth
How is midwifery care different than standard obstetric 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.”
© 1996-2007 Midwifery Task Force, All Rights Reserved
As your homebirth midwife I offer complete, individualized, and respectful primary care for the childbearing year with an emphasis on optimizing health, fostering empowerment, and honoring individual autonomy and diverse family structures.
My services include all standard diagnostic tests and referrals, as needed or desired. In addition, I also provide nutritional counseling and holistic preventative care to alleviate pregnancy discomforts, reduce risk, and support healthy pregnancy and birth.
“You feel safe in your house. You are in charge in your house. We come to your house as guests and we work for you.“
—Grand Midwife Umm Salaamah “Sondra” Abdullah-Zaimah
In-depth prenatal appointments foster a relationship of trust, respect, and understanding between midwife and birthing person. When combined with excellent clinical care, they are the foundation of safe homebirth.
These appointments take place in the comfort and privacy of your own home and are a full hour long. We meet once per month until 28 weeks of pregnancy, every other week from 28 to 36 weeks gestation, and then weekly until birth—more often, if needed.
The physical checkup (blood pressure, pulse, checking baby’s growth and position, listening to baby’s heartbeat, etc.) require less than 15 minutes to complete. The bulk of the appointment time is dedicated to answering all your questions about pregnancy changes, wellness options, and your vision for your birth and growing family.
Family participation, including that of siblings, is encouraged in all aspects of your care.
Labor and Birth
“Being a guardian of birth means respecting and supporting the innate physiological processes and biological imperatives of both mother and baby.”
—Barbara Harper, Midwife, Founder of Waterbirth International
When your labor begins, I monitor your and your baby’s vital signs at regular intervals, provide physical and emotional support and/or privacy as desired, and utilize my expertise and skills to help keep the birth normal and on track.
The excellent health of my clients combined with the high quality, preventive care I provide, mean that complications in labor and birth are rare. If a concern begins to develop, it is either addressed skillfully at home or we will discuss the need for transfer to a higher resource setting, as necessary.
As a licensed midwife, I hold current certification in CPR/BLS and Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP) and I am legally licensed to carry medical equipment and medications to safely manage low-risk deliveries at home, including: a Doppler for monitoring the fetal heart rate, stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, oxygen, resuscitation equipment, emergency medications to stop bleeding, herbs, homeopathics, IV supplies, and suturing equipment with local anesthetic. Whenever possible, I attend births with second licensed midwife or qualified birth assistant, whom you meet prenatally.
After your baby’s birth, I typically stay an additional 2-4 hours until both you and your baby are stable and lactation/breastfeeding is established. A complete head-to-toe newborn exam is done right next to you on your bed to minimize your separation from your baby. Optional vitamin K injection and Erythromycin eye ointment are available for baby, if desired.
Before leaving your home I see to it that you have eaten a good meal, the is house tidied up, and that the whole family is settled in bed.
Following your baby’s birth, I encourage you to spend a minimum of two weeks cocooned at home, dedicating this brief but precious time to resting, nourishing your body, bonding with your baby, and establishing breastfeeding/lactation. Four to six weeks of postpartum rest is optimal—the traditional “cuarentena.”
To help facilitate this cocooning time, I provide your follow-up care in your home 24-36 hours after your birth, and then again at 3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, and 6 weeks—more frequently as needed.
These postpartum visits are an hour long and include:
- Infant weight checks
- Visual jaundice screening
- Newborn care instruction
- Vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, heart and respiration rates)
- Lactation and infant feeding support
- Performance of the State-Mandated Newborn Metabolic Screen (heel-stick test)
- Monitoring postpartum bleeding, healing, and general well-being
- Emotional support and community referrals
- Birth Certificate and Social Security card paperwork
- Gyn care and discussion of family planning options
- Family Leave Paperwork
I am on-call for you 24/7 for urgent matters and offer unlimited email and phone support throughout the childbearing year.
The global fee for midwifery services includes complete prenatal care, risk assessment, nutritional counseling, birth preparation, midwife attendance at your labor and birth along with a qualified assistant, standard supplies to be used during labor and birth, a head-to-toe newborn exam, lactation/breastfeeding support, newborn care education, postpartum care for the first 6 weeks, a family planning consultation, and 24-hour midwife on-call availability for urgent matters and from 37-42 weeks of pregnancy for labor and birth.
This fee does not include lab work, ultrasounds, herbs/supplements, the birth kit, the Newborn Metabolic Screen (heel stick test), Rhogam, water birth tub rental, fees incurred by seeing physicians or hospitals or from other sources in the event of transfer.
Many PPO health insurance plans will reimburse for midwifery services. I encourage clients with PPO plans to work with Cohosh Billing, an excellent insurance billing company that can verify your benefit coverage and help you get the maximum reimbursement.
I strive to make midwifery care accessible and am always happy to answer any financial questions you may have in considering a homebirth. Payment plans and sliding scale are available. For more information about my services and fees, please contact me.