CDC: More women trying home births

June 7, 2012 4:44:41 PM PDT
More women are trying home births. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, home births increased 29 percent between 2004 and 2009. Some women say it's a chance to be in charge of their labor, but it's not for everyone. We talked to one Houston-area midwife who has made the profession her passion.

Jennifer Harrup is weeks away from the birth of her first baby, who is to be delivered at home by certified nurse midwife Pat Jones.

"She just tells me any stress in your life, you just need to find it and take it away and be as stress free as possible, and that has been really, really helpful," Harrup said.

Since 1978, Jones has delivered more than 1,700 babies. It was her own experience giving birth that led her to become a midwife.

"I had a physician and nurse who were very non-supportive, telling me I shouldn't be carrying on like that," Jones said.

She began as a Lamaze coach, then became a labor and deliver nurse and eventually went on to become a certified midwife through Baylor College of Medicine.

As a midwife, she oversees all prenatal care, from what pregnant moms eat to warning them about potential risks.

"There is a risk if she does it at home. There is a risk if she does it in the hospital. So I want her to be really educated about knowing that she is deciding which risk she wants to take," Jones said.

The biggest risk of delivering at home? An unexpected emergency. Jones says in her 30 years as a midwife, about 170 new moms have needed hospital care.

"I think the biggest myth is probably that it's dangerous and that you're putting you're baby at risk," she said.

Home births are natural, meaning no pain medication! So why do it? First time mom Leandra Davis says delivering baby Catherine at home felt empowering.

"You have to make choices that a lot of women that go to the hospital don't have to. The fact that you took on that challenge and you conquered it, that's very empowering," Davis said.

Jill Schlenker agrees. All three of her daughters, including baby Zoe, were delivered at home by Jones.

"My recovery time, I snapped right back. I felt like I released so many happy endorphins and hormones throughout my body and didn't have any drugs in my system to kind of complicate that," Schlenker said.

Jones delivers about 20 babies a year. At 70 years old, she talks of retiring but can't yet -- not when her services are in such high demand.

Midwife care is often covered by insurance, but it's best to check with your provider to make sure.


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