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Is Having a Home Birth Safe?

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — After recently experiencing a miscarriage, Lisa Chodos and her husband decided to explore the option of having a home birth for their next child, instead of going to a hospital.

“Our friends told us about who their midwives were, so we went to go meet them and it was such a comfortable meeting. It was a perfect meeting. We felt very comfortable, very supported, like it was so much more natural than going into what we felt was a sterile environment,” she said.

Now Lisa’s almost 4 months pregnant, visiting River Valley Midwives for an appointment, located inside Cradle in Northampton.

The network of three midwives and an apprentice visit with the family throughout the 9 months of the pregnancy, from birth to postpartum.

Kristen Bernard alone has 25 years of experience. “Our motto is that it’s their experience, and we’re there to help them facilitate it,” she said.

Moms like Lisa can probably expect having happy babies like Julian when she has her home birth.

His mother Hannah says that home birth probably contributed to his happy temperament.

“If he’s any indication, he’s all smiles all the time. There are a lot of factors. For me, I felt the focus being on the healthy birth sort, and my body being able to do this without a lot of outside help,” Hannah Richards shared.

Women like Hannah also said they appreciated the personal space, and felt safe knowing the midwives recognize when it’s time to get to a hospital.  “When labor is not progressing, and a woman is getting dehydrated and tired, she needs to go to the hospital and get something to relax and help her go to sleep.”

“Other things that might come up are a breach, where the bottom is presenting instead of the head. We don’t attempt those at all, it’s not a good risk. Twins, we would never do twins at home,” Bernard added.

When it’s all said and done, the choice is really determined by what you’re most comfortable with. “Basically we were looking for someone who supports our vision who is willing to and is actually supportive of doing what’s best for the baby,” said Dan Garfield.

It costs about $3,500 to have a midwife for the entire time.

Many larger insurance companies, like Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare don’t cover it.