Faq about Home Birth

Is home birth safe?
Yes.  There have been scores of studies from around the world which have shown home birth with a competent midwife to be as safe as, or safer than, hospital birth for normal pregnant women.  The Utah State Department of Health Bureau of Vital Records confirmed the safety of home birth in a 1995 report comparing neonatal death rates of planned home births with those of hospital births.  That report showed that for 1989-1990 the neonatal death rate of home births was roughly half that of hospital births, and that while the rate for hospitals remained at about 2 per 1000 births in 1991-1992, it dropped to zero for births at home.

Is home birth legal in Utah?
Yes.  Section 58-77-304 of the Utah State Code assures “the right of parents to deliver their baby where, when, how, and with whom they choose.”  Home birth has been practiced in Utah since before it was a state, and it continues uninterrupted and legal through today.

How common is home birth?
About 1-2% of all births occur at home in Utah, and the figures are similar nationwide.

What geographical areas do you serve?
We serve all of Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Weber and Morgan counties, as well as western Wasatch and Summit counties, and eastern Tooele county.  For a map of our service area, click here.

Isn't it messy?
Generally, there isn’t much mess.  The midwife will take steps to protect your furniture, carpets, and other belongings, and she will make sure any spills that may have escaped these precautions are completely cleaned before she leaves.  You may end up with a few stained towels and sheets.

How much room do you need for a home birth?
Not very much.  We like to say if you can make a baby there, you can have a baby there.  We have delivered babies in tiny bathrooms in tiny trailers, and in large mansions we never saw the end of.  Of course, a little space is nice, but we can work around almost anything.  Don’t let the size of your home limit your birth choices.

Is there any special preparation of my home needed for a home birth?
No.  Have your birth kit (supplies) in a handy place, have food and juice you like on hand, and have diapers, clothes and a receiving blanket for the baby.  Your house does not have to be spotless, and you do not have to sterilize anything (your midwife will bring any necessary sterile items pre-sterilized).  As long as your home is in a condition where you are comfortable laboring there, you’re ready.

Can I do a water birth at home?
Yes!   We have portable tubs available for your use at home, or if you have a nice garden or jetted tub, you are welcome to use that.

How much space do I need for the birth tub?
Our portable birth tubs measure 5 feet in diameter, so you’ll need a 6' x 6' square area to allow us room to move around it.  This can be a carpeted area if you wish, or any other floor surface as the tub does not leak, and we will put plastic down to catch any drips.  Most families can shift furniture around to make this much space somewhere in their home.

Can I birth in an apartment or student housing?
Yes.  Any landlord who tries to restrict you from birthing in your home is way out of line.  No one can tell you where you can birth.  Utah law actually guarantees your right to birth wherever you want.  There will be no mess, no damage.  We recommend you not even tell the owner of your dwelling your plan, as it is none of his or her business, unless the landlord lives with you.  In this case it is advisable that they be forewarned since you will have people coming and going, and you may make some noise.  We have never had a problem with floors supporting the birthing tub, so that should not be an issue.

What if I make noise?
You may make some noise during the intense part of your birth, however most moms’ perception of it is much greater than reality.  Usually the noise is much softer and for a much shorter period than you think. Just because you're sure the entire neighborhood can hear you doesn’t mean they can.

What is the difference between birthing at home and at the birthing center?
The fundamental difference is whether you want to deliver at our place or yours.  Some moms really want to get away from their home (children, pets, neighbors, whatever) to birth, and some really want to be in their own space with their own bed, and they don’t want to drive anywhere during labor or after the birth. There is no safety difference between the two.  We do not offer nitrous oxide at home.  Some moms who live far from a hospital prefer to deliver in the birthing center so they can have the out-of-hospital birth they desire, but they are close to a hospital in the event of complications.  It really comes down to where you feel comfortable having your baby.

What do I do with my kids during the birth?
We recommend if you want to have children at the birth that you also invite an adult your children know and trust to attend to them during the birth.  Make it clear that this is their primary responsibility, so that if the children do not want to be in the room at the all-important moment, the adult must leave also to be with the children.

We recommend if you have children who are not to be present during the birth you 1) leave them asleep if the birth occurs during the night, 2) find a willing friend, neighbor, or relative whom you trust with the children who will pick them up and take them to another location until you are ready to have them back, or 3) find a person with whom you and the children feel comfortable to come and care for the children at your home but out of the birth room.

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 "There is no way I can express how grateful I am. Just to be able to choose home birth as an option and have someone to support me is beyond words.  I never thought I would be able to give birth at home.  I thought I would be frustrated if I didn’t feel in control of the pain.  I thought I’d be embarrassed if I used the bathroom.  I thought I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t able to stay upbeat and creative.  You guys made it all okay.  I feel like there is such a balance between the way you take care of things--it makes me feel so relaxed about giving birth with your professional, yet loving help.  I’m looking forward to my next birth with you.."

- LeAndrena Hadlock March 2001


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