Midwifery Care in Central/South Arkansas
Why choose home birth with a midwife?
The word midwife means "with woman." For centuries, midwives have attended births, providing comfort and care for laboring women, and providing safe passage for tiny new humans entering this world.
Women still choose to birth at home with midwives, and the number of home births is growing. One of the most common reasons my clients give for choosing home birth with a midwife is that they don't want unnecessary interventions. Other reasons include wanting to be in comfortable surroundings, wanting to eat/drink and move freely, wanting to be familiar with who will be present at their birth, and wanting to feel connected with their caregiver.
Is homebirth safe?
The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) studied the statistics of 16,924 women who planned home births between 2004 and 2009, and the safety outcomes of planned home births were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health. The findings of this study were that low-risk women who have planned home births attended by licensed midwives have less interventions, a low cesarean rate, and no increase in adverse outcomes. Read more about home birth safety outcomes.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal also published a study on outcomes of planned home birth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician. This study found "Planned home birth attended by a registered midwife was associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of obstetric interventions and other adverse perinatal outcomes compared with planned hospital birth attended by a midwife or physician."
Watch "The Evidence on Homebirth" (a webinar by Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN.)
In Arkansas, homebirth midwives have been licensed since 1984. Licensed midwives follow health department protocols, are audited by the health department, renew their licenses every three years, and complete on-going continuing education. The midwives' statistics also show that homebirth is a safe option for healthy low-risk mothers. You can find our statistics on the Arkansas Department of Health website. I would invite you to compare our maternal mortality rate of zero to the state's maternal mortality rate of 44.5/100,000.
What can you expect from midwifery care?
Families who choose to give birth at home with a midwife will follow the same schedule for prenatal appointments as with an obstetrician--once a month for the first 7 months, once every 2 weeks beginning at 28 weeks, and once a week beginning at 36 weeks. Prenatal appointments typically last an hour. I spend that time with you doing all the things that would be done in the obstetrician's office--monitoring blood pressure, urine, fetal heart tones, weight, and performing other tests such as glucose tolerance, hemoglobin, group beta strep, and answering all your questions. I do my best to stay up-to-date on the current research to give you the most accurate information possible about pregnancy, birth, postpartum care, and breastfeeding.
But we will also spend a lot of time visiting and getting to know each other! We'll talk about what you are eating, exercise, sleep, emotions, your family...anything of importance to you and your growing baby. My goal is for you to be very familiar and comfortable with me by the time I attend your birth. I am happy to include your whole family in your visit.
If you need me between visits, I am available. You won't have to get past a secretary and nurse. You can reach me directly.
Giving birth in the comfort of your own home, you are free to labor and birth as you wish. You choose your environment, your positions, your food and drink, and the people present.
I am there to offer comfort and guidance, or to monitor as needed and then fade quietly into the background while you do your own thing. I do my best to honor your preferences...it's your birth.
I will bring a second licensed midwife or birth assistant to your delivery. After delivery, we hang around for a couple hours to make sure that you and baby are both doing well, give you thorough instructions on caring for your baby and yourself, and clean up before we leave. I'll come back to your house the next day to check on you and your baby, weigh your baby, and do a newborn metabolic screen. I'll file the birth certificate/social security card for your. baby I'll see you again in about a week to check baby's weight, and I'll see you again at 6 weeks. But if you need me more than that, I'm available.
Beyond that, I love it when you keep in touch and share pictures of your sweet little blossom as s/he grows!