Throughout much of human history birth has been a sacred community event with those who had given birth before coming forward to offer support and strength during this important rite of passage.
Washington State licenses two different kinds of midwives.
Licensed Midwives (LMs), also called Direct-Entry Midwives, do not necessarily have a nursing background. Instead they are educated specifically in the skills they will need to practice safe competent midwifery. LMs in Washington have met all of the state's rigorous educational, testing and licensing requirements. Most LMs do not have hospital privileges, they primarily work outside of the hospital at homes and in birth centers. In Washington, though not in all states, LMs can carry lifesaving medications and equipment. They can also contract with medical insurance companies and be covered under malpractice insurance. LMs in Washington are well integrated into the health care community.
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) first complete nursing school and then have additional education to become midwives. CNMs are recognized nationally. Most CNMs work in hospitals alongside OBs. Some CNMs in Washington state do offer out of hospital birth at home or in birth centers.
Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) have completed all of the requirements to be certified by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). This is the National certifying body for direct-entry midwives. Most LMs in Washington are also CPMs although it is not required.
To learn more about Licensed Midwives in Washington State please visit the Midwives' Association of Washington State (MAWS) website.
I believe that families birth best where they feel safe and relaxed.
Because of this I am excited to offer homebirth to clients within my service area.
Homebirth is a great way to personalize your experience of birth while enjoying the familiar surroundings of your own environment and avoiding unnecessary interventions. Many people choose homebirth because they want the freedom to include as many or as few support people as they choose. Most appreciate not having to change locations during strong labor or during postpartum.
Is it safe?
Research shows that out of hospital birth in a birth center or at home is safe for low-risk, healthy pregnancies. If at any time during pregnancy or during labor itself homebirth becomes a risky choice I will discuss it with you and take appropriate action to get you into a higher level of care. Midwives are trained to handle common emergencies. I carry medications to prevent excessive blood loss and I am trained in resuscitating a newborn. Emergency transport to a hospital is also immediately available when necessary.
Is it weird?
Homebirth isn't for everyone. But more and more families are making this choice. Humans have been having babies at home since the very beginning and it is only in the last few generations in the US that hospital births have become the norm. Those who seek homebirth are often looking for a different experience than what can be provided in the hospital. Homebirth isn't right for everyone. I'm happy to talk to you and help you decide if it is right for you.
Is it messy?
I make every effort to leave your home as clean as it was when I arrived. You will be given instructions and a supply list that will help to prevent damage to your home and furnishings. Most births only generate about one bag of garbage and one bag of dirty laundry. Some people choose to purchase second-hand linens to use during their birth and to dispose of them, however this isn't necessary and generates more waste than is needed. Please talk to me about any specific concerns you might have in this area.
Is it expensive?
Homebirth is covered by most insurance plans and by Medicaid. For cash paying clients, homebirth is generally cheaper than a hospital birth. I am currently in-network with several major insurance companies and Washington Apple Health and I am working to contract with others. If I am not already in-network with your insurance provider I am happy to bill your insurance as an out of network provider.
For clients without insurance or with very high deductibles, you may be pleased to know that the cost of midwifery care and homebirth are often less expensive than choosing an OB at a hospital.