Midwifery Today, Issue 93, Spring 2010

Issue 93: Homebirth
Theme: Homebirth
Cover photo by Michele Anderson, of Pinkle Toes Photography

The theme of Midwifery Today Issue 93 is Homebirth. Deciding where and how to birth is a woman’s right. This issue examines the choice to birth in one’s own home and delves into issues that affect homebirth midwives and doulas. An extremely organized midwife gives tips on how to pack the perfect birth kit; another midwife asks, “Are we ready to standardize homebirth?” and an L&D nurse offers advice for turning the dreaded transfer from home to hospital into a more pleasant experience. We’ve also included a special section devoted entirely to homebirth stories.


Poetry: “I Gave Birth”
Cheri Boison
Jan Tritten
Tricks of the Trade
Marion’s Message: Changing Childbirth: The Midwife and the Phoenix
Marion Toepke McLean
Media Reviews
Classified Advertising
Photo Album


Sister MorningStar
In this potent essay about the power of natural birth. Sister MorningStar asks the question, “What happens if a woman follows her instincts and births where she wants to and with whom she wishes?”
Let Your Monkey Do It—A Doula’s Take on Homebirth
Debra Flashenberg
A doula assists at her first homebirth and learns the true meaning of Ina May Gaskin’s saying, “Let your monkey do it.”
The Well-Organized Birthkit—“How Do I Ever Fit It All In?”
Regina Willette
Having a well-thought-out birthkit is crucial to any midwife’s practice. In this detailed article, Certified Midwife (and expert packer) Regina Willette helps you plan, pack and organize your birthkit, so you’ll arrive at your clients’ homes prepared and ready to go.
The Birthing of a Birth Worker
Jenna Humphreys
A doula and midwife-in-training learns valuable lessons assisting at homebirths, and recognizes that being a birth worker is more of a calling than a profession.
Hospital Transfers: Ease the Transition and Optimize the Experience
When a homebirth is planned, transferring to the hospital can be a nightmare for the parents and the midwife. How can you help create a better experience for your client? In this article, a midwife-turned-L&D-nurse offers practical tips to ensure a smooth transition, and guides midwives through the ins and outs of hospital transfers.
What I Wish I Had Seen
Kayce Pearson
A newly pregnant woman comes full-circle on her views about homebirth and urges others to share stories of loving, peaceful homebirths with their friends and families.
The Power of Story
Sister MorningStar
“There are still midwives and mothers who know powerful stories. Who still live powerful birth stories. We must take courage and tell the stories. … We must take courage and believe the stories,” writes Sister MorningStar in this lovely introduction to our special section of homebirth stories.
Bruno’s Birth Story
Ada da Silva
Five weeks before her due date, a Washington State mother learns from her out-of-hospital midwives that they will be unable to care for her because her baby is breech. A decision to drive to Oregon, where midwives can assist breech births at home is made, but baby has other plans. In the end, the couple’s Oregon midwife assists via phone and Bruno is born butt-first at home, into his mother’s hands.
Late in the Game: How I Found a Midwife and Took Charge of My Birth Story
Kelly Martin
A registered nurse discusses why she switched—at 37 weeks—from planning a hospital birth with an obstetrician to giving birth naturally, in a free-standing birth center with a certified professional midwife and a doula.
The Perfect Mantra
Kristin Love Nemzer
A mother uses a mantra she learned while hiking the Inca Trail in Peru to have a peaceful birth.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Michelle Vlad
After three hospital births, a mother discovers homebirth and gets the respectful, no-stress birth she’s been craving.
The System That Worked
Jenna Hull
Pleased that her midwives were there to support her during two normal, physiological births at home, a mother discovers that, when things turned abnormal, the medical world was also there to care for her.
From Fear to Peace: Jeremy’s Birth Story
Sarah David
After having two sons and three miscarriages, a mother worries about birthing her third child, but finds peace and strength in her planned home waterbirth.
A Beautiful Birth
Carol Leonard
An intensely poignant story about a very surprising homebirth, excerpted from midwife Carol Leonard’s book, Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Heart: A Midwife’s Saga.
Pascual’s Beautiful Home Waterbirth in Malaysia
Vanessa Beyer
A mother shares her waterbirth story and urges others to have faith in the process of birth, their bodies and their babies.
“Home Away from Home” Birth: Thinking Creatively for the Birth You Desire
Krista Cornish Scott
What do you do when you don’t have a home for your homebirth? Faced with that exact dilemma, one new mother explores what it means to give birth in another person’s house.
Vanessa Manz
A doula in Pennsylvania becomes frustrated by her area’s persecution of homebirth midwives.
Don’t Risk Yourself Out of a Homebirth—Prevent Gestational Diabetes
Amy V. Haas
A childbirth educator cautions that nutrition is the key to preventing gestational diabetes and having a healthy homebirth.
Capturing My Sense of Pregnancy
Lottie Maker
A mother-to-be remembers the “fiery, grey-haired, political activist” midwife who caught her two younger brothers and says these memories helped shape her lifelong belief that birth is a natural, normal experience that is best done at home, in the presence of loved ones and a trusted midwife.
Nuchal Cords Are Necklaces, Not Nooses
Judy Slome Cohain
Using research based on more than 180,000 births, Judy Slome Cohain investigates the medical myth surrounding nuchal cords and argues that practitioners should stop testing prenatally for cords wrapped around babies’ necks and, instead, treat nuchal cords as common, normal and safe occurrences.
Are We Ready to Standardize Homebirth?
Linda Lieberman
A paradigm shift in national health care is imminent. If traditional midwives want to be a part of it, argues Linda Lieberman in this provocative essay, they may have to be willing to temper their renegade spirits and make a few compromises.

International Midwife

Fernando Molina
A Venezuelan doctor dedicates himself to attending homebirths in his country despite the obstacles thrown at him by government officials, other doctors and others who refuse to see past the accepted, technocratic model of birth.
Jane Strutt-Izzard
A first-time mother describes the trials of having a homebirth in Bermuda, where homebirth is very rare and finding a care provider for a homebirth is nearly impossible.
A Midwife’s Tale of Homebirths in India
Lina Duncan
A midwife shares two stories of homebirths in India, including her first-ever home waterbirth.
Cards & Letters