{Originally published April 2020}

These last few weeks have been filled with uncertainty. But one thing you know for certain is that you’re going to give birth. You may be having second thoughts about your chosen hospital and find yourself considering birthing at home. You’re not alone! Families all over our area are asking questions and seeking information about home birth.

Home birth has been a thing for years but still accounts for less than 1% of all births in the US, according to the CDC. Recent hospital policy changes due to COVID-19, and the virus itself are leading many families to consider a home birth. But is it for you?

Things to Think About

“I’m nearing my due date, is it too late to transfer care to a home birth midwife?”

It may or may not be. Part of what makes home birth so unique is the relationship each client builds with their midwife. Most home birth practices consist of one midwife so you’re seeing the same provider your entire pregnancy. At each prenatal appointment she is getting to know you, and you are getting to know her. This goes a long way in building mutual trust which is an essential component to birthing at home. Late transfers don’t usually allow for this trust and relationship to build, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible!

“How much will it cost?”

You can expect to pay some money for a home birth. The exact amount will vary depending on several things; your insurance, how much care you’ve received elsewhere, and the pricing structure specific to each home birth practice.

“Is it safe?”

Yes. Research shows that home birth is actually safer than hospital births for low risk individuals. (Read that again, safer for low risk individuals.) Home birth midwives in NC are CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) and have extensive training. Their experiences and training have taught them to recognize an issue before it becomes emergent, and to act appropriately. They come to your home with items such as oxygen, resuscitation equipment, medications and IVs. Many believe “if it isn’t safe to be at home, we won’t be.”

“I’ll be able to have my doula with me and my children/family present, right?”

This is going to depend on each home birth practice and what policies they’ve made to keep themselves and their staff safe. Remember, home birth practices usually consist of one midwife. If the midwife isn’t putting polices in place to keep themselves safe and healthy they’re putting themselves and their other clients at risk. In most cases your home birth midwife and their assistant are with you for much longer than a nurse or provider is with you at the hospital. Your home birth midwife and her assistant are in your home for, usually, several hours. Minimizing possible exposure to COVID-19 is just as important in the home birth setting as it is in the hospital setting.

“What would prevent me from being able to have a home birth?”

There are a few things that would risk you out of a home birth. They include but are not limited to; multiples (twins, etc), previous cesarean, breech baby.

“We can’t justify the cost. Can’t I just go unassisted and have my baby at home without a midwife? Being in the hospital right now is terrifying.”

Well…..sure. You can do just about anything you want to. Consider the level of trust you have in your body and the birth process. Does that out weigh the amount of fear you have of the hospital, or your finances? You may be considering reaching out to a doula for support. It is our firm belief that doulas are *not* medical providers and are *not* trained to attend births were a certified medical professional is not present. Doulas should not be attending unassisted births. If you cannot justify the expense of a trained medical professional, consider how you can work with your chosen hospital to make your experience safe and comforting. A doula is the perfect resource for accomplishing this. That is what we are qualified to do.

If you are thinking about a home birth, we encourage you to contact local home birth practices and visit their Facebook pages, as many of them have posted information regarding transferring care and updated policies. Below is a list of practices that may serve our areas.

And as always, we’re here to answer your questions and address your concerns!

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