Do you have the right midwife for a home birth?
You know you’ve got the right midwife if…
- She’s trained, experienced, and licensed. Most home-birth midwives are Certified Registered Nurse Midwives, Certified Professional Midwives, or Certified Midwives. One comes with a nursing background and the others come from other educational backgrounds, but all three have formal midwifery educations, qualify for national certification exams and are licensed. Direct Entry Midwives (a.k.a lay midwives) are trained through self-study and apprenticeships. They may be very skilled and capable, but they’re not traditionally trained or licensed. Being certified and licensed doesn’t guarantee your midwife (or your doctor, for that matter) knows what she’s doing, but it does give her a level of professional credibility.
- She has excellent references. Ask around about your midwife’s reputation. Ask if any of her patients would talk to you about their births. Find out if your local hospital has accepted any of her transfer patients and whether those transfers went smoothly.
- She has an obstetrician who backs her up. Emergencies happen, even to the healthiest of mothers. And if something does happen, your midwife needs to have an obstetrician available to take her call. If she doesn’t have a solid relationship with an obstetrician for consultations or transfers, she’s not the midwife for you.
Do you have an emergency backup plan?
Only choose a home birth if…
- You have an obstetrician at a nearby hospital ready, willing and able to take care of you quickly.
- Your midwife has a plan for how to make an emergency transfer.
- You have a means to get to the hospital.
Remember: Every birth, whether at home or at the hospital, has the potential to turn scary fast. The health and wellbeing of you and your baby may depend on an emergency rescue.