Considering Homebirth in Northern Virginia

March 30, 2020

You are pregnant! Congratulations!

I am sure along with the feelings of excitement, you are also feeling apprehensive and maybe just plain old scared. Even in a “stable” world, these are totally natural feelings but at a time such this, the feelings are amplified and you have many questions. Sit with me as we examine some questions for you to ponder when considering to birth at home.

1. Are you “low-risk”? What does this mean?

A low-risk client is one that does not have any major medical concerns such as, but not limited to, chronic hypertension, insulin-dependent diabetes, certain previous surgeries, blood clotting issues, etc. Some homebirth midwives are skilled at delivering multiples and breech babies, but others consider that a reason to risk you out of care. Does your lifestyle increase risk factors? Do you smoke? Take prescription drugs? Have a poor diet? Studies show us that a healthy diet is the foundation of good healthcare. Are you willing to change some unhealthy habits?

2. Is out of hospital birth safe?

There are many studies published regarding the safety of OOHB (out of hospital birth) for the low-risk woman, with trained attendants. Some advantages are fewer risks of exposure to bacteria and illness, mothers and babies staying together, respect for a woman’s body and the way it was created to work. Along with flexibility, patience, and avoiding unnecessary interventions, this all leads to better outcomes for mothers and babies. Ask others but do your own research.

3. Is my partner supportive?

Making the decision to birth outside the hospital means you will be taking responsibility for your healthcare choices and this includes who will support you in pregnancy and labor. Is your partner/family scared, doubtful or indifferent? All of these things affect your confidence in birthing out of the hospital but are also an opportunity to grow and learn together. There are plenty of books and documentaries available to help educate your partner/family about safety. Watching “The Business of Being Born” is a good place to start.

4. How do I find a practitioner that is right for me?

Living in the Northern Virginia area, we are so blessed by many wonderful midwives. CPMs (Certified Professional Midwives) are considered specialists in out of hospital care. The CPM is the only midwifery credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings. They have excellent outcomes and are licensed by the state of Virginia. CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) are also licensed by the state of Virginia and have the ability to work in and out of the hospital setting. Often CPMs and CNMs collaborate together as they both have certain skills to bring to the table to offer you. Many do all prenatal care, including labs, in your home and others have offices to meet at. Most appointments are an hour long giving time to develop a trusting relationship that is paramount to the Midwifery Model of Care.

You have so much to look forward to! Blessings to your journey as you prepare for the birth of your baby.

 

Written by Kelly Jenkins, CPM, LM of Blue Ridge Birth.

Photo by Hilary Hyland Photography

After working in the birth world as a doula, CBE instructor, and birth assistant, Kelly became a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) in 2013. Since, she has worked as a primary Midwife at NOVA Natural Birth Center in Chantilly, VA and now runs her own home-based practice, Blue Ridge Birth, Inc. Over the past 25 years, she’s had the privilege of attending hundreds of births, each unique and beautiful.

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