Denver Newsroom, Jun 23, 2020 / 16:40 pm
As hospitals continue to treat patients with COVID-19, many expectant women worry about exposing themselves and their babies to the virus while giving birth. Their concern has led to a surge in demand for at-home births, according to some midwives.
In 2018, about one percent of births occurred at home, according to a CDC study. That figure has been on the rise since 2004, according to a study published in the journal Birth, which reported that the figure for at-home births increased by 77% between 2004 and 2017. The study found that the increase may be due to increased coverage of home births by insurance.
But the surge in demand for home births during recent months is unprecedented, Catholic midwives told CNA.
Catholic midwife Tiara Rodgers, whose practice, Modern Miracle Birth serves women in central Texas, says she has seen demand for her services double.
“Because of covid, a lot of women and families are finding themselves considering home birth when they would've never thought otherwise to consider home birth,” Rodgers told CNA. “Midwives are busier than ever right now.”
Midwives, who are the traditional form of obstetrics in many countries, are licensed from the American Midwifery Certification Board or the North American registry of midwives. The United States also recognizes midwives who obtain a graduate degree after completing a nursing program.
In 2018, the World Health Organization recognized the value of midwives in a report, which stated that properly trained midwives could prevent 80% of deaths associated with childbirth, especially in developing nations. The WHO hopes to develop midwifery programs in both third-world and first-world countries by 2030.
Midwives are trained to deliver babies in low-risk pregnancies, often with the help of a doula, who offers emotional support for women during the birth itself. If a risk-factor develops during the pregnancy, midwives bring women to a hospital for further care. That, said Rodgers, will not change even in a pandemic.