How to Hire a Home Birth Midwife
Home births in the U.S. increased by 29 percent between 2004 and 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you decide to go the home route, this doesn’t mean you should have your baby without any medical intervention.
Many home births — 62 percent, according to the CDC — include the assistance of midwives. Finding a midwife who provides the care and medical guidance you need is a key part of making your home birth a success.
6 Steps to Hire a Home Birth Midwife
1. Talk to your friends, relatives or other mothers who have had home births using midwives as medical providers.
Ask for suggestions on a professional midwife, why the mother chose that practitioner and how her overall experience was. If you don’t know anyone who has had a home birth, consider logging on to an online community — such as Baby Center or the American Pregnancy Association forums.
2. Visit the American College of Nurse-Midwives website to find a listing of certified practitioners in your area.
Enter your geographic location and the search radius. Choose “Home” as your birth site to find a midwife who has training in home births.
3. Ask the midwife for her qualifications.
Certified Nurse-Midwives have graduate-level training in nursing and state licenses that qualify them as independent health care providers. Review the midwife’s qualifications, looking for a master’s in nursing — with a specialization in nurse midwife practitioner — and ACNM certification.
4. Request references from the midwife.
Ask her for professional references from former clients that attest to her ability to handle a home birth.
5. Spend time talking to your potential midwife.
Talk to her about her labor and delivery philosophies and beliefs surrounding home birth, ensuring you are both on the same page. Ask her how long she has been practicing and how many home births she has participated in.
6. Don’t forget about the payment part of the midwife’s services.
Ask the midwife what her fees are and whether she accepts your insurance before making your selection. Contact your insurance company to ensure your policy covers these services.
Tips and Warnings
- Although you are planning for the best, you have to consider what will happen in the event something goes wrong during the birth process. Ask the midwife what her standard procedures are when it comes to complications or whether she is affiliated with a local hospital or medical center — in the event that you need emergency care.
- Do not hire a midwife who refuses to provide her credentials, doesn’t have a master’s-level nursing degree from an accredited institution or won’t give you professional references.
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