Home birth (or any out of hospital birth)currently is divided into three general categories. This post outlines the three categories from my perspective as a birth and postpartum doula working in Southeast Wisconsin. The purpose here is to explain the similarities and differences among these birth options . YOU are always the decision maker and final authority on yourself and your pregnancy.
PLANNED UNASSISTED AKA FREE BIRTH. In this model, you are the sole power and authority for your birth. You are the only person managing your birth and you have consciously decided to do this. During the birth process you and your baby remain a single unit. You birth in your home, another's home, outdoors or “other” such as a motel. Your labor and birth are physiologic and undisturbed. You may choose to do this alone, or with a support team. When a doula attends free birth, the scope is the same as managed births in that the doula role is non-medical, for example: not performing cervical exams, blood pressure checks, blood loss estimates, baby's physical health, etc. Some people receive medical management during their pregnancy and then free birth, while others skip medical treatments entirely. Some people research and make personal choices such as what to eat, water-birth etc. based on this research. Some people birth this way because they have full faith and trust in the birth process and value the sacred nature of pregnancy and birth. Some people birth unassisted due to fear and/or have been brutalized or traumatized by people in the medical establishment. Some people birth unassisted when they have hidden their pregnancy. And, of course, this is a continuum with people free birthing for many reasons.
PLANNED HOME BIRTH OR BIRTH CENTER BIRTH WITH A MIDWIFE. In this model, you and your midwife together manage your pregnancy and birth. Attention is on your over-all health and you and baby are viewed as a single unit. In contrast to most doctor-hospital based models, you are cared for with attention, respect, and holistically. Midwives spend plenty of time with you at prenatals, work with you to reduce stress, and suggest you maintain your health and create a healthy body and mind for birthing through self-trust, creating a balanced life, trust in the birth process, nutrition, etc. You birth physiologically and often primarily undisturbed. Your midwife comes to you during labor, catches your baby, and medically assesses you and your baby during labor, birth, and post-birth. A second midwife joins the primary midwife prior to birth so that when baby is born there is a midwife for you and one for baby. Midwives carry emergency equipment such as oxygen, newborn CPR equipment, and medicine to stop hemorrhage. You may have a nurse-midwife or a certified professional midwife and both are highly trained. These midwives operate within the scope of Wisconsin law and are accountable to the medical model; for example, you are sent for medical tests sometimes, you must be in progressing labor at least 24 hours from membrane release, you must maintain a certain blood pressure, etc. If the midwife, at any point during your pregnancy or labor, feels you are not low-risk enough, you get “risked out” and sent to birth in-hospital. When a doula attends a midwife birth, as with unassisted birth, the role is non-medical. Midwives can and do help with labor support, but their basic role is “instead of a doctor” as opposed to “doula work.” Most people choosing midwife attended birth do so because they trust the birth process, value the sacred nature of pregnancy and birth, and feel comfortable with a “just in case” medical management team present. Some choose this to keep their power and voice. ( AND you can choose in-hospital midwife care as well. I recommend Aurora Sinai for this.)
UNPLANNED HOME or OTHER OUT OF HOSPITAL BIRTH. This happens when you planned to allow managed birth by a doctor or midwife either at home, hospital, or birth center, and your baby is born prior to the arrival of the medical provider and/or prior to your arrival at the hospital. Most of the time this happens when you have a fast labor or fetal-ejection-reflex meaning your body goes totally primal and your baby suddenly appears earthside. This could happen due to logistics, such as extreme weather, traffic jams, being tied to duties such as providing childcare, elder-care, or paid employment.
Sincerely, Martha at Doula Woman in Milwaukee, Wi. 262-902-8714. And feel free to ask me how to obtain more info. on this.
Southeast Wi doula
ALWAYS OPEN FOR BIRTH
firstname.lastname@example.org (email problem? Just text please!)