Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of my most common questions, briefly answered. If you're new to the idea of a home birth I recommend scheduling a consult with me to go over all of your questions in detail. I also have recommendations for informational documentaries and evidence-based handouts I can provide you at our initial visit if desired.
Q: Are there ways to increase the safety of birthing at home while still providing an individualized and respectful environment for my birth?
A: There are several practices that have been shown to improve home birth safety:
Two birth attendants: One a certified professional midwife always in attendance at your birth. You will not have a student or assistant alone at your birth. The vast majority of the time, the two attendants are both certified professional midwives (CPMs). On the rare occasion that two births occur at the same time, you will have a CPM and a trained, experienced birth assistant in attendance.
A Midwife Present: You have hired a midwife and you deserve the knowledge and expertise she brings. The vast majority of the time you will have two trained midwives at your birth. If we do have a student at the time of your birth, the student will never be alone with you at your birth.
Timely Transport: While having the baby at home is our plan, sometimes plans change. There are some rare situations that can arise in labor and we are trained to recognize them and act accordingly. Sometimes these situations may require a higher level of care for you or baby, and in response we would plan a timely transport to the hospital. Your safety is important, and there have been countless lovely, satisfying vaginal births in the hospital after a transport.
Access to Objective Information Regarding Tests, Procedures, and Interventions: There are no right answers when it comes to having a baby, and each person comes with their own unique biology, history, wants, needs, and requirements. Midwifery is a partnership and as such, decisions are made through shared decision-making, the childbearing person bringing their expertise on their own body and the midwife bringing their expertise on normal, healthy birth. The blending of these two bodies of knowledge are the foundation of the midwifery model of care.
Q: Will I need a doula?
A: We love working with doulas. There are plenty of studies that show doulas result in more positive birth experiences, including less interventions and lower cesarean rates. A Doula will not only provide support for the birthing person but also for their partner. While the midwife is focused on your well-being from a medical standpoint, a doula offers emotional, physical, and informational support during this time. While I often provide some of the things that a doula provides (suggestions for comfort, ways to progress labor, encouragement, etc), you deserve someone that is there entirely for your comfort. When you need a doula the most is often when your midwife is working the hardest to insure your safety.
Q: What do you bring to a birth?
A: We bring a doppler to assess baby's heart rate, oxygen tank, resuscitation equipment, pulse oximeter, medications, IV fluids, sterile instruments, antibiotics, and herbs for non-emergent scenarios. A healthy birthing person with a low-risk pregnancy often requires very few, if any, interventions during labor. That being said, we are grateful for the tools we have that can be life-saving.
Q: Will home birth leave my house a mess?
A: Our birth team helps clean up your space, starts your laundry, and takes out your trash before tucking you in to rest. In early labor, our birth team protects your bed and floors with plastic-backed absorbent pads. We also often recommend that you protect your pillows by covering them with plastic covers and placing an old pillowcase on top.
Q: Does Insurance cover home birth?
A: Insurance companies are beginning to recognize homebirth as a reasonable and cost effective option. If you have medical insurance, we can determine if your plan will cover your delivery. Visit our insurance page to find out more information.
Q: What are some pain management options with a home birth?
A: There are so many ways to reduce the perception of pain during labor, and we will discuss those during your care. I offer water immersion with a birth tub and the option of a labor-specific TENs unit. A doula can also help you with various position suggestions and massage. Being in your own space and having the freedom to find what makes you feel most comfortable is one of the biggest perks and most effective ways to increase your physical comfort level.
Q: Can I have a water birth?
A: Absolutely! I have a birth tub for client use at no additional charge. You will only purchase a few supplies, including a single-use tub liner. Click here for additional research on the safety of waterbirth.
Q: Who can attend my birth? Who on your team will attend my birth?
A: You have full control over who attends your birth. Whether you feel more comfortable with just you and your partner, or with several supportive people, you get to choose! We generally work in a team of three (primary midwife, secondary midwife, birth assistant) and may also have a student who attends. Ideally we all attend your birth but if two people are in labor at the same time, the midwives would split up and retain an assistant for your labor and birth. Our birth team is there to help if needed - so for the majority of your labor we are respectful, quiet and in another part of the house. Having our team there allows me to be more present, and allows others to chart your birth, keep your space clean, and provide additional support when necessary.
Q: Is home birth safe?
A: Medical researchers and statisticians have studied the safety of homebirth for almost 35 years. It is thoroughly documented in studies conducted throughout the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands that homebirth is safe for well-screened, carefully attended, low-risk birthing people. Homebirth results in significantly increased odds of a normal, vaginal delivery and lower rates of surgical intervention, fewer episiotomies, decreased odds of severe perineal trauma, and significantly lower overall maternal morbidity (including postpartum hemorrhage) for those with a low-risk, healthy status. A meta-analysis showed no statistically significant difference in infant mortality (death) and stillbirth rates in well-designed studies. NICU admissions are also significantly lower in babies born at home, especially for women who have previously had a baby. There are rare complications that may be better handled in the hospital, so careful consideration is required before choosing to birth at home.
Links to studies on Home Birth Safety
Did you know?
Home births offer more support and indivudalized care than a hospital.
Women who choose home birth oftenhave more control of their birth experience.
Women who have planned home births have high rates of satisfaction.
Home birth may foster increased opportunities for bonding with baby.
In Northern Nevada, if you want a water birth it is only an option at home.
Home births are associated with a significantly lower risk of third or fourth degree tears.
My favorite thing about Tiffany, besides her comfort, knowledge, and experience was her availability. If I had any question, big or small, she would always get back to me quickly. This is never something I would get being seen by a doctor. It makes the experience so much more personal and intimate and a lot less scary!