This question is so popular that we dedicated an entire post to it!
The #1 way to locate a midwife is by word of mouth. Seek out other home birth families in your area. Talk to local doulas and childbirth educators. They often will be connected to other birth professionals in the area, including midwives. Look for places where holistic or naturally-minded people tend to frequent, such as health food stores, etc. If you live near an Amish or Mennonite community, they may have information to share. Finally, use online resources such as our post mentioned above.
The short answer is no, it is not illegal to have a home birth in Kentucky. There are no laws stating where a woman can or can not give birth.
The long answer is that there is some legal liability, but it rests with the midwife, not the family who wishes to birth at home. We’ve dedicated an entire post to this question because of how often it is asked, and the length of the answer. Click here to visit “Is Home Birth Legal in Kentucky?” to read up on our current situation surrounding the legality of home birth midwifery, and the current laws in place.
Nope! It really isn’t. You will have a birth kit that your midwife has designed for her and your specific needs. The birth kit contains personal supplies such as disposable underpads (often called chux pads) and gloves. Common household items like bowls, trash bags, towels, and plastic coverings (think cheap plastic shower curtain) help to keep surfaces clean from any bodily fluids. Your midwife will instruct you on how to best set up your birth space to keep the area as clean as possible. After the birth, the midwife (and her team) will also clean up the area and dispose of any trash or debris while you rest with your new babe!
A midwife and doula have very different roles when it comes to birth.
A midwife is the medical professional of the birth team. She is caring for your health and the health of your baby. She will attend your prenatal visits, keep medical records, give medical advice, oversee the birth, asses when a hospital transfer is necessary, and perform postpartum care for mother and baby.
A doula is a trained birth professional that offers physical and emotional support before, during, and after labor. A doula does NOT provide any sort of medical care or medical advice. A doula is NOT trained to deliver babies. A doula may help you understand what to expect during birth, offer measures to increase your comfort during labor, and be the communication line between you and your chosen birth team.
A home birth in Kentucky can range anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000 depending on the midwife you choose, what area she is located in, and her experience. Most often, this fee is paid out of pocket. Typically, insurance companies will NOT cover a birth attended by a CPM, as they are not yet licensed in our state. Some individuals have luck submitting a claim with their insurance company after the birth and receiving a partial reimbursement. Insurance may fully cover birth with a CNM, depending on if she is in-network.
A midwife’s fee includes all prenatal care, the birth, and postpartum/newborn care. There may be other costs involved, such as birth supply kits or pool/pumps (for water births). Outside tests and ultrasounds are not included in the initial fee.
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are registered nurses who have graduated from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) and have passed a national certification examination to receive the professional designation of certified nurse-midwife. Their education and practices are mostly hospital based, but they are able to provide care for births in hospital, home, and birth center settings.
Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) are professional independent midwifery practitioners who have met the certification requirements of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). Applicants can qualify to take the NARM exam by either apprenticing with a qualified midwife and completing an Entry-Level Portfolio Evaluation Process or graduating from a midwifery program or school. If the program or school isn’t accredited by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council, applicants must complete the Entry-Level Portfolio Evaluation Program. The CPM is the only NCCA-accredited midwifery credential that includes a requirement for out-of-hospital experience. Click here to read our post dedicated to the education and training requirements set forth for CPMs.
Traditional Midwives, sometimes referred to as lay midwives or community midwives, are uncertified or unlicensed midwives who often have informal education, such as apprenticeships or self-study, rather than a formal education from accredited institutions.
Planned home birth with a midwife is a safe option for low risk mothers. Many people mistakenly view home birth as “less safe” than hospital birth. However, countries who have midwives as the leaders of maternity care and where home birth is considered among the norm experience better birth outcomes than countries where birth is facilitated in hospital settings with obstetricians. Families and individuals who choose home birth must be comfortable with taking responsibility for their health and personal choices. Each family must decide what risks they are comfortable with taking.
A high quality, peer reviewed study of almost 17,000 home births was published in Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health in 2014. CPMs were the care providers for most of these births. The study found the following:
- The average cesarean rate was 5.2%, compared to the national average of 32%
- About 1 in 10 women were transferred to a hospital, mostly for stalled labor or the need for an epidural
- Home birth mothers experience lower rates of intervention
- 97% of babies were carried to full term
- Only 1% of babies needed to be transferred to a hospital after birth, most for non-urgent reasons
- 86% of newborns were exclusively breastfeeding at 6 weeks of age
The study concluded that, “Low-risk women… experienced high rates of normal physiologic birth and very low rates of operative birth and interventions, with no concomitant increase in adverse events.”
We’ve found that the most effective way to get someone on board with your plans to birth at home is to set up an interview with a midwife, even if your partner insists there is no way a home birth is happening. Usually their fears are motivated by 1) love and concern for you and the baby, and 2) not realizing home birth midwives are highly skilled birth professionals who are trained specifically for attending birth in the home setting. The interview will allow them to ask the questions that will put their fears to rest. Pinterest is a great resource for finding interview questions. The midwife interview has turned many skeptics into believers!
This is one of our most common questions, so we’ve dedicated an entire post to it. Please follow this link to view the post: https://kentuckyhomebirthcoalition.com/birth-cert-social/
It’s a simple process, but a few key points to keep in mind are:
1.) Call your Vital Statistics Registrar ahead of time to see if an appointment is required.
2.) Ask what you will need to bring with you.
3.) File soon after your baby is born, don’t wait!