With all of the uncertainty going on right now due to COVID-19, a few mama friends have asked me for information regarding home birth. After giving them the details about my home birth experience, I figured I should share the information here for any other expecting mamas.
If you are considering a home birth, here are some important things that you should know:
What Exactly is a Home Birth?
A planned home birth is when you have made the decision to give birth in your home rather than at a hospital.
Midwifery practices may or may not be popular in your area. Be ready to do your research! Search online, read reviews, ask other moms and definitely meet with the midwives to ask all questions you may have. Remember, a midwife will be checking on you throughout your pregnancy and will be the one helping you deliver your baby in the intimate setting of your home, you want to feel as comfortable as possible with whomever you choose.
Types of midwives
A CPM is a Certified Professional Midwife who works independently with women delivering at home or in birth centers and usually provides prenatal care.
CPMs must pass a competency test by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).
A CNM is a Certified Nurse Midwife who is a registered nurse and receives additional training in pregnancy and childbirth. They also have a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery.
CNMs receive a certification from the American midwifery certification board upon completion of training.
Home Birth Cost
Most insurances here in the United States do not have the best coverage. When I gave birth to my first son at the hospital, a week or two later, I received a bill in the mail for almost $4,000. I was extremely upset to have received the bill considering I was under the impression that my insurance would cover all of the hospital fees.
I say that to say that it’s safe to assume that hospital births cost more than homebirths.
For a home birth, you will be responsible for the midwife’s fee, which varies from area to area but includes your home birth experience, newborn care done within the first few weeks of the baby’s birth, as well as care for you after delivery. In addition to that fee, some midwifery practices may require you to purchase some supplies to have ready for that day.
Some insurances may cover home births, but the majority of them don’t. It doesn’t hurt to call and ask though! In my case, my insurance covered all of my prenatal visits and a portion of my 20-week Anatomy Scan.
Is It Safe?
For low-risk pregnancies, planned midwife-attended home births are just as safe, and can be even safer than hospital births. Midwives are professionally trained, just as labor and delivery doctors. They are trained and equipped to deal with emergency situations and in the case that they feel that a situation needs more medical resources, they know when to suggest a transfer to the hospital.
In addition, if throughout the pregnancy there are complications, they will advise the mother should they believe it would be an optimal option for the birth to take place at a hospital rather than at home.
The type of training that midwives receive is very different than doctors. Midwives have a holistic approach to birth whereas, if you’ve had a baby in a hospital before, I’m sure you noticed how medical everything is there. In some hospitals, there is almost no wiggle room for nature to take its course. With that being said, most midwives do not give pain medication nor will they administer an epidural. They believe that the body is more than capable of delivering without the need for intervention—unless of course there are complications, which in that case you would be giving birth at a hospital.
Why home birth?
Though home births were super common back in the day, and remain very common around the world, home birth seems to be a bit unconventional in some areas of the US. Every time I would share the news with someone that I was planning on giving birth at home, I got the crazy look and was asked why.
Home births are intimate, home births are natural and home births are beautiful. I believe that my home birth was the most empowering experience I have ever undergone. It’s an amazing feeling to be in the comfort of your home during labor, being able to do whatever you feel helps you the most to get through labor, to then deliver and still be in the comfort of your home-now with your little bundle in your arms!
Be open to knowing that this experience will be completely different than what you can expect to experience at a hospital.
Be open to changed birth plans. Not everything may go as you planned or envisioned it to go, and that’s okay. Everything will fall into place.
We are living through a concerning time, I don’t blame you for feeling overwhelmed and even a bit scared! But I want to let you know that everything will be just fine! Just believe it! <3