Midwifery, home births

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I have some experience that is quite uncommon these days and may be of help to someone.

I became involved in the Natural Childbirth movement and gave birth to both of my sons without drugs. One was born at an alternative birth center and one was born at home with a midwife from the Netherlands.

I put myself through extensive training and education at the time (1980 and 85) and would be happy to pass on what I know to anyone interested.

I can recommend a good book to start, Spiritual Midwifery. This was written by the midwives who were pioneers at The Farm, an intentional community. Their knowledge and experiences at non-hospital birthing spread to many other groups around the country interested in reducing dependence on drugs during delivery and creating a more humane birth experience for the baby and whole family.

It has been some time since I went through this, so I would have to do some looking for all the other great books that helped me understand the problems at the hospitals and the elements of a successful natural birth. Most of all, after the information, I needed the support to calm the fears, change my preconceptions about childbirth, and gather the courage and strength to face this event in spite of all the misinformation and lack of support for it.

Feel free to email me, or post questions I would be happy to try to answer.


-- Lora (artemis45@hotmail.com), July 09, 1999


I had the last five out of my seven children at home with midwives. My hospital births were less than wonderful, to say the least. The babies born at home weighed 10lb 5oz, 12lb 4oz, 12lb 4oz, 11lb 30z, and 11lb. I tend to run over my due date, and one boy went a month past his "due" date! I carried three of them breech right until almost the last minute. Each pregnancy and birth was slightly different, but obviously I discovered that home birth could be a safe and wonderful way to go! Like Lora, I would be happy to answer any questions that I can, and check with my friend (a midwife) for other questions. Childbirth is natural!

-- Mumsie (Shezdremn@aol.com), July 09, 1999.

Mrs. Big Dog is a CNM who does home as well as hospital birth (two of our own five were born at home as well) and is ALSO available to answer questions, either here or by email to me. Hmmm. We'll have to come up with some content-rich threads ....

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), July 09, 1999.

Dog, you are in luck if you ever have emergency labor.. hee hee. My first two midwives were lay midwives. They had extensive study and apprenticing in their backgrounds. The first lay midwife I used had been delivering babies for 28 years. She was probably more savvy than most young OBGYN's. The last two were with a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife... must have her RN and then complete another midwifery portion of her education for certification, often around an additional eighteen months I think). I preferred my CNM, not because I doubted the knowledge or ability of my first lay midwife particularly, but because my CNM was free to operate in an atmosphere of legality, and therefore I was less concerned about unexpected complications that could involve transport to the hospital. In CA, and many other states, until certified lay midwives are recognized, there will probably always be a reluctance on the part of some to transport to the hospital. They may do it, but I would question their possibly delaying that decision longer than would be expedient. Saying this, I am convinced that I would have had a C- section with one of my children had I gone the standard OBGYN route. I am referring to the baby that went a month over his due date. It was my most difficult birth at home, and I believe that the midwife's skills and expertise (like an art...a good midwife uses her head knowledge, but almost feels what is happening) enabled me to have a natural delivery. The hospital doctor/scenario is seldom this patient and wise. Too much quickie domino-like intervention and resulting complications there for me. I need to dig up my research files, but believe that one of my favorite books was called something like "Heart and Hands". Perhaps Mrs. Dog could verify the title and the author? For now, just let me affirm that anyone who checks the statistics will find that home birth with a qualified midwife is a safe and wonderful alternative. Don't let the fear-mongering of others throw you off or deter you. Believe me, I heard all the dire warnings and predictions, but did my homework and realized that they were barking up an empty sleeve.

-- Mumsie (Shezdremn@aol.com), July 09, 1999.

If you are looking for a bit more extensive education (covering more than child birth), you might also look into an EMT course...which should cover assisting births (my class did, and I delivered my youngest daughter).

It's good to be able to do it...if you have to.

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), July 09, 1999.

I also used a Certivied Nurse Midwife [CNM]. Michael Odent (the French obstetrician renouned for his work in water births), calls CNMs "flames," that is Female Labor Assistants who are Medically Enamored. If I had it to do over again, I would prefer an unassisted homebirth to any kind of hospital birth. If my relatives insisted I have some assistance at hand (because I have chronic health problems) I would choose a lay midwife rather than one who is in the habit of relying upon the hospital as a backup measure, particularly in a Y2K situation.

-- Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California (minddancr@aol.com), July 11, 1999.

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