Learn More About Homebirth & Midwifery
Since the beginning of time, women have been giving birth at home under the auspices of midwives. As modern medicine evolved, childbirth gradually transitioned from the community to the hospital. Women thought this model would lead to a safer, pain-free birth experience. Western medicine promised just that. But the medicalization of childbirth led to new issues. In the 1960s and 70s, medical doctors extinguished the pain of childbirth by essentially knocking women unconscious with the use of "Twilight sleep." Women became passive participants in the birth process and unnecessary interventions increased.
One of the many benefits of choosing home birth is the ability to set up your birthing environment exactly how you want it.
While the more fun part of preparing your birth space is decorating and making it cozy, you’ll also need to collect the necessary supplies for a home birth. Below is a checklist of home birth essentials. Consult with your midwife as she may have other specific recommendations, too!
Your midwife will want you to have these supplies gathered by the time you are 36 weeks pregnant so you will be prepared for whenever your baby is ready. Simply follow this home birth preparation checklist and you’ll be set!
Midwives have been supporting families during pregnancy, labor, and birth for centuries. The practice of midwifery in the modern era dates to the 18th and 19th centuries when licensed midwives became an integral part of healthcare practices, providing prenatal, childbirth and postpartum care. Midwifery services focus on not just physical health needs but also the emotional, social, and mental well-being of the patient. Despite it being an important role in modern healthcare, many people are still unaware of what a midwife does or uncertain about the safety of midwifery. Even so, there has been an increased demand for midwives offering patient-centered care which is based on trust and understanding recently, leading to greater awareness and recognition of midwifery services around the world.
Childbirth can be thought of as a simultaneously exciting and frightening experience. It is not an isolated incident, really, and the process of trying to conceive, to finding out you are pregnant, to caring for your body throughout its changes due to the pregnancy, are all linked to the moment of delivery. Over the course of many years, decades, and centuries, all throughout humanity’s history, women have given birth to children in a myriad of ways, from natural births to medically induced labor.
As technology has changed and improved, so have our tools and understanding of what it means to give birth and be a mother or parent. The concept of professions dedicated to assisting people through pregnancy has existed throughout time, to support the person who is giving birth throughout the entirety of the process.
Find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about our practice as well a general questions about midwifery and home birth. If you have any specific questions, we’re here to answer them.
As an expectant mother seeking the guidance of a midwife, it’s crucial to find the right professional to support you throughout your pregnancy and childbirth journey. To help you make an informed decision, here are 50 important questions to ask your potential midwife, along with the reasoning behind each question and why each question is important:
Additional External Resources
Birth: it’s a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a business. Compelled to find answers after a disappointing birth experience with her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to explore the maternity care system in America. Focusing on New York City, the film reveals that there is much to distrust behind hospital doors and follows several couples who decide to give birth on their own terms. There is an unexpected turn when director Epstein not only discovers she is pregnant, but finds the life of her child on the line. Should birth be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency?
Midwives in all practice settings are committed to improving safety and providing high quality healthcare. This vision is shared by women and other birthing people, consumer advocates, obstetrical consultants, and other members of the healthcare team. Midwifery practice for families that choose planned home birth (PHB) or midwifery-led birth centers (MBC) upholds these goals. Collectively, perinatal care provided in the home or birth center is called birth in the community setting. 8 As perinatal care in both settings is conducted with similar staffing, equipment and standards, NYSALM will treat them together for the purposes of describing and defining quality healthcare.
The mission of the Midwives Alliance of North America is to unite, strengthen, support and advocate for the midwifery community and to promote educational, economic, and cultural sustainability of the midwifery profession.
Join Jessicca Moore, filmmaker and nurse practitioner, on a compelling journey through maternity care in the United States. Told through the lens of doctors, nurses, and midwives, Why Not Home? examines the latest evidence on risks and rewards of different birth settings. The film presents a balanced and accessible view on the latest research, along with moving personal stories of medical practitioners faced with big decisions for their own growing families. Viewers are challenged to move beyond preconceived ideas, and to envision a fresh future for maternity care in America.
Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.
I was turning heads. Here I am in the center of the ultra-Orthodox, Satmar Chassidic Jewish community in Williamsburg, jumping out of a bright red jeep with a brown leather birth stool peeking out of my canvas sack. Next to me is Kristen carrying a bulging briefcase on her back. We walk with purpose, the two of us…
The number of families in the United States choosing to stay home to give birth has increased significantly in the past decade. For the essentially well woman experiencing a healthy pregnancy, intrapartum, postpartum, and newborn course, childbirth with qualified providers can be accomplished safely in all birth settings, including home, birth center, and hospital…
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