We offer water birth at home in one of our hospital-grade birthing tubs. Even if the mother doesn’t want to give birth in the water, we strongly suggest using the tubs for labor support as it greatly aids in relaxation for the mother (and therefor shorter, easier labors in general). However, not all women choose to labor in water and we completely honor their intuition and wishes for labor and birth. Many happy babies have been born in beds, on couches, and even in bathrooms!
Families are given a small supply list of items they will need at home for the birth, and the midwife will bring whatever else is needed. We carry herbs, homeopathic remedies, oxygen, instruments, suturing supplies, medications, IV supplies, and many other items to ensure the safety and well-being of both mother and baby. Birth is made to work, and rarely are those things needed, but our birth team is prepared and experienced in handling unexpected situations if they arise.
It is the intention of the midwife to have at least one assistant during labor, and both midwife and her assistant will arrive whenever requested. There is no “rule” about being contractions being a certain time apart before we will come – when you want support, you will get it! During labor we monitor the well-being of mother and baby, and we do this by:
- Evaluating fetal heart rate every 30 minutes during active labor, and more during pushing. Our dopplers are water proof, so there is no need to get out of the tub for monitoring, or in a different position. We do our best to listen to the baby without disturbing the mother and her labor space.
- Monitoring vital signs of mother, including temperature, blood pressure, swelling, and urinalysis.
- Checking fetal position
- Vaginal exams if necessary, which is usually not the case. We will often times go an entire labor without checking dilation, and only do so at the request or permission of the mother.
- Helping the mother stay in tune with her body and baby, and as relaxed as possible during her labor experience. The safer and cared for the mother feels, the more able she is to stay in her natural birthing mindset. Our goal is to provide as much safety with the least amount of distraction to the process of labor and delivery.
- Making sure the laboring mother stays hydrated and nourished, listening to her body’s needs as she does the work of labor.
- Mother-guided pushing, and encouragement to let her body bring her baby down on its own. As long as mother and baby are doing well, there is no rush! We believe that a woman’s body works with her baby during delivery and she knows best what she needs, and when she needs it. We are there to provide support in whatever way we can.