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choosing homebirth

first light community midwivesHome birth is becoming an increasingly attractive option for families who want to claim more responsibility for their health care, want to have a safe natural birth in an infection free environment and who value the intimate, spiritual and family centered nature of birth. Childbirth at home protects the integrity of the most important event in a family's life and honors a woman's right to give birth in her own environment and with the attendants she chooses.

Research comparing home births and hospital births indicate that planned home birth with a trained attendant have the same or better outcomes than hospital births. The well-being of the mother, the baby and the family is the midwife's primary concern. She provides women with complete prenatal care, labor, birth, immediate postpartum care and watches over the mother and her newborn up to six weeks postpartum. Midwives view their relationship with each client as a partnership. The best way to have a healthy baby is to be a healthy mother. Home birth is cost-effective, personalized and continuity of care (care given by one person throughout pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period) is the norm.

choosing home birth - As with any major decision in our lives, it is important to become educated about the choices we have to make. Too often we forget to become educated consumers when it comes to our health care, yet it is one of the most important decisions we make when thinking about the birth of our babies. We encourage women to consider their priorities for the birth of their baby and interview the person who will be providing their care closely. Take a list of questions to an appointment, listen to the responses of the care provider and remember they are being hired by you to provide your care, therefore, they need to provide the kind of care that you would like to have.

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) has created the Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative which is a guideline for good maternity care. It states that birth is a normal, healthy process and that women have both the right and the responsibility to receive the best care, both physical and emotional in the most supportive environment. We agree with this principle and encourage you to use this as a guideline for choosing the people who will work with you during your pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.