F.A.Q. - All About Home Birth
Is it messy?
This is one of the most common questions we hear about having a home birth! The truth is that yes, birth is messy. BUT, that doesn't mean your house will be a mess. What typically happens is, about an hour after you deliver your little one, we draw up a nice soothing herb bath for you and baby to soak in while we tidy up the birth space(s). By the time we tuck you and your baby back in bed, most families tell us, "Wow! You can't even tell we had a baby in here!," which always makes us chuckle because you are clearly snuggling a baby!
Is home birth with a midwife a safe option?
Two of the most important choices a family will make is where to deliver their baby and who will be their care provider. In our area, we are very fortunate to have a wide spectrum of options available: home with midwives, hospital with midwives, and hospital with an OB. While each of these options carry their own risks and benefits, ultimately you need to choose the place where you feel most comfortable and the provider who supports and respects your birth choices. As home birth midwives we care for low-risk pregnancies. We believe that birth is a normal, physiological process and we feel like our job as midwives is to monitor the pregnancy, labor, and postpartum so that we can identify any situations that may arise and require a referral or a transfer of care. As part of your prenatal care, we will create a care plan with you, should referral or transfer become necessary. If you would like more statistical information about care in a home birth setting in the United States, please visit the Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health's article: "Outcomes of Care."
Which newborn procedures will the midwife provide?
Should you choose to do any of the following newborn procedures, we are able to perform them immediately postpartum or at the 24 hour postpartum visit, as determined by procedural protocol:
- Vitamin K prophylaxis
- Erythromycin eye ointment
- Newborn Metabolic Screening
- Newborn Hearing Screening
What will I need to do to get a birth certificate?
After your baby is born, we will leave a simple form for you to complete and return to us at one of your postpartum visits. We will submit this information to the state, who will issue a birth certificate and Social Security Number, if desired, for your child.
Do I need a doula if I'm having a home birth?
During labor, a doula provides continuous physical and emotional support to the family, whereas the midwife is responsible for the physical well-being of mom and baby. While both people support the family in their choices and provide guidance during the journey of labor, they are two very different roles. Research supports the use of a doula, regardless of where the birth takes place. As midwives, we welcome a doula's presence in your birth space and view her as a real asset to the birth team.
What about insurance?
At this time, we do not file claims with any insurance companies, but we do work with a biller who can take care of your insurance claim for you. You are also welcome to communicate with your insurance company and file directly with them for reimbursement.
How do I prepare for my home birth?
Making Babies Series
Nutrition and exercise lay the groundwork for a healthy pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period. We recommend a whole food based prenatal vitamin and at least 30 minutes of exercise 5x a week. One of our favorite ways to supplement bioavailable nutrients is through a vitamin and mineral rich herbal tea called NORA tea. Each ingredient of this tea provides valuable support to mom and baby for optimal growth and development. A great resource for recipes, exercises, tinctures, and baby food is "Making Babies Book" by Shoshanna Easling. This book is chock full of information to help you get started in the right direction! "Real Food for Pregnancy" is another perfect book to learn more about meeting the nutritional needs of you and baby.
Exercise and movement is just as important for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. We've found a great online program called "Body Ready Method," which focuses on helping maintain a strong core and pelvic floor, as these are the foundation of proper posture, which helps for a smooth delivery and recovery, as well as fewer aches and pains during pregnancy! If you have a local BirthFit or Prenatal Yoga class available to you, that is another great option for prenatal exercise.
One more important part of preparation is education. We recommend that all first-time parents take a childbirth education class to familiarize themselves with the birth process and what to expect during the various stages of labor. These classes are helpful in preparing for the work of labor as well as helping the birth partner know how to give support along the way.
If you are unable to take a class or have already delivered a baby or two, then we recommend that you read, read, read! These are some of our favorite books to refresh your memory about birth or to help you prepare for it the first time:
If we had to narrow that list down to 2 books, we would choose "Active Birth" and "Real Food for Pregnancy"!
What is a birth team?
Your birth team is made up of the people you choose to be present to support you during your labor and delivery. We recommend that you consider the following people when assembling your team:
- Doula. As mentioned above, we are big fans of doulas!
- Birth Photographer. One of the most commonly overlooked luxuries in the birthing room is a talented birth photographer. While not everyone is interested in or can afford this, I haven't taken pictures for anyone who has later regretted it.
- Postpartum Doula. A postpartum doula helps during the postpartum time and nurtures the whole family. She may help with breastfeeding education, meal preparation, light housework and laundry, and/or childcare. She works to foster the independence of the entire family by helping ease everyone into the newborn period.
- Placenta Encapsulator. While there is no scientific research concerning the consumption of your own placenta, some women have reported benefits such as increased milk supply, decreased postpartum mood imbalance, and increased energy.