NashvilleHealth | Natural way: Midwife aided, mother approved

Natural way: Midwife aided, mother approved

More women push back against the medicalization of birth

By Jeannie Naujeck

When Zoe Jamail first became pregnant, she was interested in the idea of a natural home birth, but unsure how her body would respond.

So she entered Vanderbilt University’s nurse-midwifery practice. Accompanied by a doula, Jamail spent 43 hours laboring at home before going to the hospital, where her daughter Nova, now 2, was born an hour later.

But this summer Jamail will get her home birth. She’s due to deliver her second child in late July in the comfort of her East Nashville home with the help of a certified professional midwife and a doula.

“With a first-time birth I felt a little more comfortable going to Vanderbilt, but we labored at home for so long that it felt like a home birth in a lot of ways,” Jamail recalls.

“Once I realized, I can do this, I don’t need an epidural, I’m strong, that was a really empowering experience. We didn’t have any complications and now I know what to expect.

“And now I’m excited about, logistically, not having to go to a hospital, because getting there was the only stressful part of the labor.”

Jamail, who turns 33 next week, is part of a growing trend of women choosing non-hospital and low-intervention birth.

They’re eschewing physician-attended births in hospitals in favor of a midwife, a concept that may seem quaint and Old World to Americans, but is as common and natural as childbirth in the rest of the world.

While hospital births are the norm for even routine births in the United States, that’s not the case in England, Canada, Europe, and the rest of the developed world, where midwives attend the majority of ordinary, uncomplicated births – even royal births.

Midwifery got a boost when it was revealed that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, had delivered baby Charlotte with two midwives facilitating and no epidural.

“It’s no longer just a fringe movement, with hippie moms in Birkenstocks. It’s more of a mainstream option, which is really exciting,” certified nurse-midwife Lauren Drees says.

“I’ve seen a drastic shift of women beginning to explore their options – and they’re not waiting until they’ve had a bad first experience and want a better second. It’s first-time mothers too.

“Women are waking up, and they’re beginning to be their own advocate.”

In Middle Tennessee, moms-to-be have more options than ever for labor and delivery, including births at home assisted by a midwife, at a hospital but facilitated by a nurse-midwifery practice such as Vanderbilt’s, or at a birthing center such as Baby & Company in Nashville or The Farm in Lewis County, which has a longstanding midwifery practice.

Read the rest of the story at: TNLedger

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