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5 important things to think about before using a midwife in Ohio

Are women who select home births with the assistance of midwives being told just how dangerous the practice can be?

Or, are they being given a rosy picture of a home birth, which is painted as “more natural” and inherently better for the mother and child?

Home births are less likely to result in medical intervention — but those interventions may just be necessary. The risk of death of a baby during or just after delivery in a home birth is twice as high as that in a hospital.

Before you consider a home birth with just a midwife, these are some things to consider:

— Midwives in Ohio are not regulated. While they are not expressly forbidden, they also aren’t legally defined. That means that you are essentially going to have to take a midwife’s word about her training unless you investigate her closely.

— There are certified nurse-midwives who work in obstetrics and gynecology practices and can help deliver your baby in a hospital — which reduces the risk to you and your child while still helping provide a natural birth experience.

— If you are going to have a home birth, it’s better to have a certified nurse-midwife in attendance or a midwife that’s certified and licensed through the International confederation of Midwives’ Global Standards for Midwifery Educations.

— Make sure that your midwife carries malpractice insurance — or don’t use that midwife!

— There should also be transportation available to the nearest hospital and a doctor available for consultation throughout the labor and delivery process.

It’s also important to remember that any midwife that paints labor and delivery as a painless, easy process that isn’t risky (as long as those hospital doctors don’t get their hands on you) isn’t being realistic and giving you a balanced viewpoint. There are many benefits to a home delivery and some women really are good candidates for the process — but some aren’t. Seek a second opinion if you have any doubts.

If something does go wrong and you realize that the midwife should have done something sooner (like call an ambulance), you can press a medical malpractice claim against a midwife just like you could against a physician. An attorney who handles birth injury claims can provide more information.

Source: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “Committee Opinion,” April 01, 2017