Homebirth and Community Midwifery

Midwives value communication and developing a trusting, working relationship with the women and families they serve. In the course of developing that relationship, midwives provide personalized and thorough care at many levels: preconception, pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, and beyond. Many midwives provide primary health care, gynecological care, and care of the normal newborn. Some midwives prescribe medications including family planning and contraceptive methods. In addition to being trained to conduct comprehensive physical exams and order laboratory, screening and other diagnostic tests, midwives provide extensive health care education and counseling, as well as engage in shared decision-making with their clients and patients.

While midwives work in all settings: home, clinic, freestanding birth centers, and hospitals, MANA's roots are in homebirth. Homebirth contributes to comfort, mobility, ability to cope, and sense of confidence. Reflecting a woman’s family and cultural traditions, the homebirth setting enables her to follow the innate wisdom of her body to direct the course of labor and birth. CPMs are specifically trained for birth at home and in freestanding birth centers, and required to have experience in those settings.

Click here to read MANA’s Position Paper on Homebirth.

 

Homebirth Study Blog Post

In the peer-reviewed Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health (JMWH), a landmark study** confirms that among low-risk women, planned home births result in low rates of interventions without an increase in adverse outcomes for mothers and babies.

Healthcare Systems

The healthcare system that has evolved in the United States is the result of several intersecting influences: business, technology, values, historical roots, and deeply held priorities. In the U.S., the policies and practices related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting reflect each of these influences.

Normal Physiologic Birth

As early as 1996, the World Health Organization called for the elimination of unnecessary interventions in childbirth. This included a recommendation of a cesarean section rate of no more than 15% of all births.

Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative

The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI), drafted in 1996, was an evidence-based consensus document ahead of its time. Since then, research, professional guidelines, state–wide health care directives, hospital systems, health care quality improvement initiatives, and federal and state-level maternity care legislation have identified many aspects of the MFCI and the Ten Steps of the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative as key factors to improving maternal-infant health outcomes. This document, updated in 2015, provides the evidence to show that the MFCI can be used as a guide to meet professional and federal guidelines to make childbirth safer, less costly, and more satisfying to childbearing women and their families.

 

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