Pregnancy, Parenthood & Playtime

Doula, Birth Advocate, Aspiring Midwife, Mother, and Wife

Home Birth in Connecticut

|

Not many people know that home birth is an option when you find out you are pregnant here in the state. Others think that home birth is as primitive as it was in the 1800′s and the midwife just shows up with a rolled up towel for you to bite on and you are on your own. Which is completely the opposite of home birth today in the year 2009.
Recently I was fortunate enough to speak with a local home birth midwife and pick her brain on the details of home birth since I personally have never had one, but definitely would be interested in one.

Nancy Farr is a Certified Practicing Midwife here in the State of Connecticut who has caught (in her own words) more than 540 babies in the past 24 years since she started her schooling to become a midwife. While we all are mostly familiar with Certified Nurse Midwifes that traditionally work in hospital settings, Certified Practicing Midwives have had an alternative type of education. Nancy shared with me the story of her training.

My original degree is in Early Childhood Education.  I joke that I didn’t know then how early I wanted to be involved.  I began studying midwifery through a home study course while my children were little, called Apprentice Academics.  I then took what used to be called “The Basic Course” in MA.  It was the only formal, systematic midwifery training available in New England at the time.  It was a combination of classroom seminar, skills training opportunities and independent study.  It was a perfect adjunct to my apprenticeship in progress.  I have also attended hundreds of seminars and conferences on various topics pertinent to women’s health care, birth, parenting issues, herbal healing, massage and midwifery skills.  Part of maintaining high standards in midwifery care is continuing education.

When a woman starts to consider having a home birth, attended by a Midwife, one of the first things to do is sit down and talk with a Midwife that does deal in home births and discuss if they are a good candidate for birthing at home. Normally women who are healthy, low risk, with no complications in their pregnancy, or as Nancy described to me

A woman that is physically and emotionally healthy.  She is free from any pre-existing or developing health problems and has a belief in birth as being a normal process.  We like our clients (not patients) to be educated regarding pregnancy and birth and take an active role enabling her to make informed choices.

Something that is important to know when thinking about this choice, recently new studies are showing that home births attended by medical professionals, such as midwifes, are as safe as hospital births. For more information feel free to click the text, which is linked to an article about the study.

Another huge question always is, Will my insurance cover it?  And if they do not how much does it cost?   Many women are willing to pay out of pocket for this type of birth experience or to simply stay out of the hospital while they are giving birth, but the average going rate is $3000, and if your insurance covers out of network providers, sometimes they will actually reimburse you for the birth!  But when you compare $3000 for all your pre natal care, and the birth, when you would be spending at least double that for the birth alone to birth in a hospital, you can see which is economically wiser. Especially if you are going to be paying for your pregnancy out of your own pocket.  The pre natal care includes the same that you would get if you were to see a provider that delivered in a hospital, except you will get a little more time per appointment, no in and out in 5 minutes. One visit a month until 32 weeks gestation, then the visits are every 2 weeks until you hit the 36 weeks gestation mark, then like every other woman your visits will become every week until you give birth. Once the baby is born, Nancy, and any average home birth midwife in the state will spend far more time than the normal provider will.

The postpartum care is extensive and we return to your home within 24 hours, back again for a 3 day visit, a 5 day visit to attend to the PKU test and a 2 or 3 week visit, then the final 6 week visit.

Currently across the state there are about 6 home birth midwives currently attending births. There were more, but over the years there has been a horrible witch hunt in our state, and we truly need to act together to help make a change so all women have the option to birth in whatever setting is best for them. Lastly I would like to include why Nancy felt the need to become a midwife because I really enjoyed what she had to say.

I wanted to become a midwife so I could give back the type of care that I received with my third baby.  She’ll be turning 27 in November.  I had two previous hospital births that went well with minimal intervention.  They were beautiful experiences but I knew something was missing.  Planning a homebirth with a midwife, the care I received was outstanding.  I was treated like a whole person and what was going on in my head was given equal attention as my growing belly.  The continuity of care, seeing the same person at each visit is so important to the health and well being of Mama.  Having my baby at home with her father, siblings (then ages 5 and almost 3) and grandmothers there to welcome her was a peak life experience.  Letting labor and birth unfold in your own environment makes a lot of sense and I believe the body works better!  I wanted to let this secret out about homebirth and help people achieve it!  I knew then I’d either want to have 10 kids or become a midwife.  I love helping to educate and empower women during this important passage.  Realizing the uniqueness of each and every family, I hold a deep commitment as a resource to clients as they make decisions regarding health care that meets their individual needs.

If you would like to learn more about home birth or are interested in having a home birth, you can contact Nancy Farr at 860-742-6911, or email her at motherwise@earthlink.net

Danielle Elwood