The word midwife means "with woman." For centuries, midwives have attended births, providing comfort and care for laboring women, and providing safe passage for tiny new humans entering this world.
Women still choose to birth at home with midwives, and the number of home births is growing. One of the most common reasons our clients give for choosing home birth with a midwife is that they don't want unnecessary interventions. Other reasons include wanting to be in comfortable surroundings, wanting to be familiar with who will be present at their birth, and wanting to feel connected with their caregiver.
The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) studied the statistics of 16,924 women who planned home births between 2004 and 2009, and the safety outcomes of planned home births were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health. The findings of this study were that low-risk women who have planned home births attended by licensed midwives have less interventions, a low cesarean rate, and no increase in adverse outcomes. Read more about home birth safety outcomes.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal also published a study on outcomes of planned home birth with registered midwife versus planned hospital birth with midwife or physician. This study found "Planned home birth attended by a registered midwife was associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of obstetric interventions and other adverse perinatal outcomes compared with planned hospital birth attended by a midwife or physician."
In Arkansas, homebirth midwives have been licensed since 1984. Licensed midwives and their apprentices follow health department protocols, are audited by the health department, renew their licenses every three years, and complete on-going continuing education. The midwives' statistics also show that homebirth is a safe option for healthy low-risk mothers.
I am an apprentice midwife under the direct supervision of Deb Phillips, CPM, LLM, which means that Deb will be present with me at prenatal/postpartum visits and births until I am licensed. (Beyond that, midwives typically attend births in pairs.) Deb is a reputable, experienced midwife who has been practicing for around 35 years and has caught around 1100 babies. She attended the births of some of my own babies, and I am honored to be able to learn from her!
Families who choose to give birth at home with a midwife will follow the same schedule for prenatal appointments as with an obstetrician--once a month for the first 7 months, once every 2 weeks beginning at 28 weeks, and once a week beginning at 36 weeks. Prenatal appointments are held in Deb's unique, beautiful home (in North Little Rock), where you are seen promptly. We'll spend an hour with you, doing all the things that would be done in the obstetrician's office--monitoring blood pressure, urine, fetal heart tones, weight, and performing other tests such as glucose tolerance, hemoglobin, group beta strep, and answering all your questions. We stay up-to-date on the current research to give you the most accurate information possible about pregnancy, birth, postpartum care, and breastfeeding.
We will also spend a lot of time visiting and getting to know each other! We'll talk about what you are eating, exercise, sleep, emotions, your
family...anything of importance to you and your growing baby. Our goal is for you to be very familiar and comfortable with us by the time we attend your birth. We listen, we reassure, and we are
happy to receive hugs! We include your whole family in your visit.
Deb Phillips, CPM, LLM helps the excited older siblings find their baby's heart tones.
If you need us between visits, we are available. You won't have to get past a secretary and nurse. You can call or text us directly, and we try to answer promptly. We don’t mind at all when you text us with questions!
Giving birth in the comfort of your own home, you are free to labor and birth as you wish. You choose
your environment, your positions, your food and drink, and the people present.
We are there to offer comfort and guidance, or to monitor as needed and then fade quietly into the background while you do your own thing. We honor your preferences...it's your birth.
After delivery, we hang around for a couple hours to make sure that you and baby are both doing well, we give you thorough instructions on caring for your baby and yourself, and we clean up before we leave. We come back to your house twice in the first couple days to check on you and your baby, weigh your baby, and do a newborn metabolic screen. We file the birth certificate for you. We see you again around 10 days to check baby's weight, and we see you both again at 6 weeks. And again, if you need us in between visits, we are available.
Beyond that, we love it when you keep in touch and share pictures of your sweet little blossom as s/he grows!