In short… yes. My amazing last home birth experience that saved me from an 8-week c-section surgery recovery was not legal in my state. If you missed my birth story, the birth (of my now one-year-old) was a breech home VBAC and my 8 pound daughter had perfect APGAR scores.
This post is different from my normal posts and I’m asking for your help and activism today. I would not have had the option to birth naturally in any of the medical facilities in our state. And I need your help to make sure other women have the option to birth at home in my state in the future!
- Call 1-800-372-7181 (especially if you live in KY or are a healthcare professional) and say “I’d like to leave a message for all members of Senate Licensing & Occupations Committee: “Please vote yes on SB 105 to license Certified Professional Midwives.”
- If you live in Kentucky- Leave a message for your Senator: “Please support and co-sponsor SB 105 to license Certified Professional Midwives.”
Was My Birth Illegal?
Sounds like a crazy question… but thanks to the laws where we live (in Kentucky), home birth is not technically a supported birth option like it is in 31 other states. I should clarify that it wasn’t technically illegal for me to birth at home, but that my state does not currently license certified professional midwives (CPMs). This makes it difficult (and risky) for these midwives (who are often certified in other states) to serve families and have access to necessary supplies.
Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are nationally credentialed midwives who provide primary maternity care. CPMs are the only maternity care provider specifically trained to attend births outside the hospital.
They are trained to provide health-promoting and preventative care that is evidence based and avoids unnecessary use of drugs and interventions. CPMs are licensed in 28 states but not yet licensed in Kentucky. Licensing Certified Professional Midwives is the best way to ensure that those families who choose out-of-hospital birth will have access to quality maternity care.
Homebirth IS Happening
Kentucky women (and women all over the US) are choosing home birth. In fact, last year, the percentage of KY home births was above the national average, yet women are not supported in this option, having to find midwives through word of mouth or choosing to birth unassisted (without a midwife) if they are unable to find a midwife near them.
In a state with one of the highest c-section rates in the country, home birth midwives offer a safe alternative and we’ve been working to change the laws and support this option in KY. The World Health Organization, the American Public Health Association and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (in the UK) all support home birth as a safe birth choice, yet some states in the US make this option difficult or impossible for women, despite evidence of its safety.
With the WHO calling for the US to work to lower its unnecessarily high c-section rates, supporting home birth as a birth choice is increasingly important. Women are already choosing this option and will continue to do so, and supporting these options with access to lab testing, ultrasounds and necessary medications will help keep moms safe. Consider these studies and the difference in intervention rates in home births vs. hospital births:
and this one…
My Birth: The Bottom Line
Home birth is not for everyone, but it should be a supported option for women who choose it. My birth would not have been possible in a hospital in my state. I did not even have that option. My midwife’s VBAC rate is 99%. My local hospital’s VBAC rate is less than 20%. My hospital’s breech rate is approximately 0%.
No matter what type of birth you have personally chosen, please help me and others give the women in my state the right to choose their own birth options. I’m happy to do the same for you and your state if it is ever needed.