Questions About Home Birth and Midwives

Top 5 FAQs:

Is it Safe?

In a word: yes.  Many studies have shown that for low-risk mothers who are attended by trained midwives, a homebirth is as safe as a hospital birth, and the intervention rate is much lower at home.  The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) in Great Britain, fully supports the option of homebirth for low-risk mothers.

What is a midwife?

A midwife is a person who is a trained expert in normal pregnancy and childbirth.  She handles low-risk pregnancies and focuses on prevention of problems.  Because she is so familiar with normal, she recognizes when things become abnormal and knows when it is time to get help from an obstetrician, who is a trained expert in the abnormalities of pregnancy and childbirth.

What if there is an emergency?

Your midwife is trained to handle the most common birth-related emergencies.  She will bring all the necessary equipment and supplies to be fully prepared to handle all the common problems that may arise during labor and delivery.  She is also trained to watch for signs of a developing emergency and will transfer you to a hospital well before an emergency she cannot handle develops.

Can I get an epidural at a homebirth?

No.  There are no pain medications at a homebirth, but you will be free to labor in any way you desire.  Your midwife will have many strategies to help you ease the pain of labor, including laboring in a birth pool, freely moving about and changing positions, as well as many tried and true techniques for coping with the pain.  If it becomes clear that you really want or need an epidural or other pharmaceutical pain relief, your midwife will take you to the hospital to obtain them.

Isn’t it messy?

Yes, birth is messy.  But you can expect your midwife to be an expert in containing the mess, as she is in charge of cleaning up!