midwives

Photo courtesy of Carrie Vickery.

A small but growing number of U.S. women are choosing to have their babies at home. In more than 30 states, including most of the Midwest, it’s legal for certified professional midwives – trained specifically in home birth – to assist them.

With Uptick In Home Births, Midwives Seek To Practice In More States

Jul 19, 2016
kc7fys/via Flickr

Jennifer Crook is a trained and certified midwife living in Birmingham, Alabama, who has presided over about 200 home births. But to do so, she and her pregnant patients had to drive two hours across the state line to Tennessee.

The reason for the border crossing was simple: Alabama is among 22 states that do not license midwives who deliver babies outside of hospitals. And practicing midwifery without a license in Alabama wasn’t worth the risk.

In LA, Moms-To-Be Share Appointments

May 13, 2016
Anjik Butler and Alexandria Smith share their pregnancy concerns during a group session at the Eisner’s Women’s Health Center in Los Angeles. Shared medical appointments are becoming more common as a way to cut costs and improve efficiency.
Heidi de Marco / KHN

LOS ANGELES — The women sat in a circle and bemoaned their sleepless nights. It seemed unfair: Their babies weren’t even born yet.

Mayra Del Real’s daughter turned somersaults in her belly every few hours. Alexandria Smith lay awake with heartburn. When she wasn’t propped up with every pillow in the house, she was making bleary-eyed trips to the bathroom.

Sofia Mejia, pregnant with her third baby, laughed knowingly.

“It’s really priceless — those moments in the middle of the night,” she said. “You get used to it.”

These moms-to-be weren’t just commiserating over coffee. They were at a routine prenatal visit — all five of them at once.

Should More Women Give Birth Outside The Hospital?

Jul 13, 2015

A recent recommendation from doctors in the United Kingdom raised eyebrows in the United States: The British National Health Service says healthy women with straightforward pregnancies are better off staying out of the hospital to deliver their babies.

That's heresy, obstetrician Dr. Neel Shah first thought. In the United States, 99 percent of babies are born in hospitals.