Homebirth FAQ

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Is homebirth safe?

Yes, homebirth is a safe option for healthy pregnant people carrying healthy full-term babies. To learn more about the outcomes of homebirths in the United States, check out “Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives,” from the BMJ.

Birth has a wide range of normal. Midwives work with healthy people, healthy pregnancies, and healthy babies because they represent the lowest risk population for whom all the options--including out of hospital birth--should be available (as they are in the United Kingdom, for example). However, we are also trained to manage complications of birth. For example, I carry anti-hemorrhagic medications, equipment to help a baby transition to breathing air, and oxygen. There is an experienced assistant midwife present at the birth who is current in her neonatal resuscitation and CPR certification.

What do you bring to a birth?

In my birth bag, I carry tools to monitor your well-being and your baby’s. I am also licensed to carry certain medications.

Some things I always use:

  • A hand-held doppler used to listen to the baby’s heart rate during labor
  • Tools to assess newborn wellness, including stethoscope, thermometer, a scale, and more

Some things I often use:

  • A birth tub

Some things I rarely use:

  • Anti-hemorrhagic medications to control bleeding if needed after birth
  • An oxygen tank
  • A resuscitation device to use as needed when baby needs assistance transitioning from birth
  • Suturing equipment, including lidocaine

Who will be at my birth?

Anyone you want! I have attended births with extended family members, multiple polyamorous partners, kids, best friends, doulas, pets, and even a squirrel. A second trained midwife will also attend your birth, whom you will meet prior to birth.

What do I need for a homebirth?

I will provide you with a link to a birth kit that you purchase. The birth kit contains all the supplies we need for your birth and postpartum. Additionally, I provide a list of items to have on hand for birth.

Is homebirth messy?

Typically homebirth is not messy, and we make sure that your space is ready for birth, which includes protecting surfaces where you might have your baby using disposable underpads. We don’t leave until your space is clean, the trash has been taken out, and the laundry is in the wash.

Do you offer waterbirth?

Yes! I have a birthtub and air pump available to my clients. Clients are responsible for filling and emptying the tub, as well as procuring a tub liner, hose, and attachment pieces to their faucet.

Where do you attend homebirths?

I am licensed midwife in the states of New Jersey and New Hampshire, and a Certified Professional Midwife, recognized by the National Association of Registered Midwives. I attend homebirths within about 45 minutes of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, which includes Princeton, Trenton, Edison and New Brunswick. I also attend births in Pennsylvania, which does not require licensure. I am not currently licensed in New York, but I may assist at homebirths there. If you're outside of my range, I am happy to refer you to another wonderful midwife.

What if something “goes wrong”?

Birth is usually a safe and smooth process, but occasionally challenges arise during labor, birth, or the immediate postpartum. I am trained to manage the most common situations. This include excessive bleeding postpartum, for which I carry the same medications that are offered in the hospital. I also carry equipment to assist a baby who needs support breathing, and receive the same American Academy of Pediatrics training as hospital providers.

The most common hospital transfer scenario is a long labor and a desire for pain relief and rest, and less common scenarios include retained placenta, excessive blood loss, or a baby who needs additional respiratory support. According to the MANA planned homebirth study, roughly 12% of parents were transferred during labor, and only 1% of a babies are transferred to the hospital postpartum.

What does homebirth cost?

My fee is $4500 for complete midwifery services to be paid in full by 37 weeks, including prenatal care, labor and birth support from two midwives, and postpartum care. Though I provide all routine lab work, there may be additional costs depending on your insurance coverage; I work with you to keep these as low as possible. I do not provide ultrasound, and again there may be fees depending on insurance. I offer a discounted fee for cash-paying clients.

I am not in-network with any insurance providers. I work with Cohosh Billing to help clients determine whether they are eligible for insurance reimbursement, and I can provide a global bill at six weeks postpartum to submit for reimbursement.

Do you attend VBACs?

A Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) can be a safe and healthy option, and I have attended numerous VBACs at home when I practiced in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Despite the benefits and safety of planned home VBAC, New Jersey state regulations prohibit trained providers from attending VBAC at home. I do attend VBAC at homebirths in Pennsylvania.

Further reading on homebirth