ObGyn Open to Home Birth

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Alta Bates OB open to Homebirth

April 2011

I am hoping for a homebirth in July. We've found a great midwife and are now looking for a new OB (and pediatrician!) in Oakland with privileges at Alta Bates. I'd like someone to have access to my health history, in case the birth doesn't go smoothly and I need to transfer to the hospital. Also for continued care after the birth. Any recommendations on a doc who won't balk at queer/trans parents birthing at home? (switching insurance at 6 months pregnant, yikes!)

We had a homebirth last Summer in Albany and Alta Bates was more or less our back up facility because it's the closest hospital. My understanding of homebirths in this area was that if you tell a doctor at Alta Bates you're planning a homebirth they won't treat you. That being said, Alta Bates is also supposed to be one of the better places to be a backup in that they'll take you if there IS a problem with the birth and they have great doctors/facilities there (even if you haven't seen them before, as long as your insurance covers them, I'd suppose). It's kind of a don't tell policy. You could always go to Alta Bates a few times to check in with a doctor and then just continue with your homebirth at home, and not telling them that's your plan. Or, just keep with your homebirth midwife track and use Alta Bates as your emergency backup but never go there.

I thought the dynamic of the midwife/doctor relationship in this area to be odd because we had our first son in Los Angeles where the relationship between the two was better. In LA, there are very few but a handful of doctors that midwives can rely on and be honest about the situation with and that doctor is then considered your backup doctor. Here, where I'd expect it to be a better dynamic, it's not. Our midwife told us if we told a doctor here no doctor would see us. We're two moms, by the way, and we've had no doctors or hospitals treat us any differently/poorly because of it. It could be that we lucked out but I think hospitals have seen it all and this is California (so we're protected more than most states) so they're fairly open to non-traditional situations. Good luck and congrats! albanymama

Kaiser OB who supports home birth?

Feb 2010

I am early in my 3rd pregnancy and am most likely planning a home birth. Some of the BPN archives seem to say that an OB can ''drop'' you from their care if they know that you are getting concurrent (private paid) care from a midwife in preparation for home birth. I had planned to use Kaiser to get all of my labs and bloodwork and testing done since it would all be covered under my insurance, but I am worried my OB will refuse to write the orders for such things if she knows I am planning a home birth. Somehow this seems illegal to me in some way. If I'm covered by Kaiser insurance, don't they have to allow me to use my insurance for costs that are allowed under my plan, regardless of where I choose to deliver this baby? -Wish Kaiser covered home birth

Both Erica Breneman and Ann Eastman have been supportive of women planning homebirths. I planned homebirths for both of my children and received excellent concurrent care with Erica. I had all my labs, my amniocentesis, genetic counseling, and some other high risk follow-up done at Kaiser. My first son was born at home, and my second son ended up being born prematurely via cesarean birth (for breech positioning) at the hospital. In both cases, I received great care. A friend used Ann Eastman similarly and had a wonderful experience. Best of luck to you and your baby!

The nice thing about Kaiser as opposed to some other PPO, HMO plans is they will not drop you if they find out you're planning a homebirth. They will give you concurrent care. That doesn't mean the OB will necessarily make you feel supported. I am in my second pregnancy and have had one homebirth, planning another, and get concurrent Kaiser care. My OB has been amazing and supportive, rooted me on the whole way, and provided valuable additional care to my homebirth midwife. She has also ordered all my labs. Her name is Renee Perry and she's at Oakland Kaiser. I highly recommend her. I have heard that not all the OB's there are supportive. Gook luck! Local

Hi There, just wanted to let you know that not everyone at Kaiser is against homebirth. I switched to Kaiser from United Healthcare just before I found out I was pregnant. I am so glad I did though. I received the best care I could have wished for by my OB and pretty much all the staff that I encountered. I was expecting to have either a homebirth or a waterbirth at Sage Femme (SF). I had totally disclosed this information to my OB and she was totally supportive of that, she even told me about her experiences of attending a couple of homebirths herself. I definitely lucked out with her. I did not end up having a home or water birth because I had placenta previa and but I am very lucky to have had the great care at Kaiser that I did. I received my prenatal checkups and care at Kaiser Oakland with Dr. Wiese and would totally recommend her. Perhaps you would want to check out Kaiser in Walnut Creek's Midwife program if Oakland is too far away from you. Claudia

i too planned a homebirth and have kaiser insurance. i must say i was quite impressed with them, they were totally ok with doing parallel care for labs, etc. pretty much whatever i wanted to do. my doctor is carla wicks (who is on maternity leave) but i think most will do the same. congrats! homebirth mama

Homebirth-friendly OB Gyn

Dec 2008

I'm newly pregnant and am hoping to have a home birth with a midwife. I've identified several great, potential midwives from previous discussions. I'm wondering, though, if any of you have had experience working with an OB/GYN who was happy to continue seeing you as a patient after you had a home birth. (I understand it's probably best not to tell your OB/GYN from the get-go that you're planning to have a home birth, but they're going to find out sometime.) It would be especially great to get recommendations for doctors who are part of the Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation group, but others are welcome, too. expecting

Dr. Farney . He is independent. He has an office in Alameda and in Novato. Even if Alameda is not very convenient for you, I would recommend seeing him. He is a very good doctor. He was my doctor when I was pregnant and after (I had midwives as well). I too wanted a homebirth. I did not end up having one (my son was breech) so we especially felt very fortunate to have Dr. Farney as he is very experienced and I had as positive a birth experience with a C-section as I could have imagined. Best of luck. zen

Hi, I had two wonderful homebirths with Beah Haber and was overseen by a wonderful OB as well, Angelyn Thomas . She never once questioned my decision to have a home birth, prescribed whatever tests I needed (although I later learned Beah could do that as well) and was just wonderful. I've recommended Dr. Thomas to several friends who have not had home births and they've all been happy. Also, I recommend a guy named Lance Dursi in Los Gatos for your ultrasounds. He is far more wonderful than any facility you'll find in the east bay or SF. Email me if you have any questions about a homebirth or anything else. Good luck! Jen Jen

Birth at home, prenatal with OB?

Nov 2007

At a recent annual exam with my OB-GYN, I mentioned that I'd like to get pregnant in 2008, and that although I'd like to give birth at home with a certified nurse midwife, I'd like to continue to see my regular OB for prenatal care, in tandem with the CNM. My OB said that once I'd chosen a homebirth, her practice's insurance would no longer allow them to see me for prenatal care.

I guess it makes sense that people intending to give birth at home have their prenatal care with the midwife. Do the midwives handle routine ultrasounds, blood tests, glucose tests, all those standard tests I remember from my first pregnancy? I'd like a check-up that lasts longer than an OB, so a midwife would be cool that way, but I also appreciate the scientific expertise of the establishment!

I don't want anyone to tell me how to GIVE BIRTH, but I would still like to have my pregnancy monitored medically. I guess I'm afraid that a midwife check-up would be too touchy-feely or ineffective. Am I wrong? Any suggestions? Conflicted

I had 3 babies at home, all with the same Certified Nurse-Midwife. The medical care was expert, there was an ob-gyn backup whom I met with once each pregnancy (but never needed beyond that), and I got the best, most personalized medical care I've ever had in my life. She answered all my questions, reassured me emotionally (KEY in natural birthing), and was as medically knowledgeable as she was emotionally savvy.

Don't be afraid. Get a good CNM and enjoy your pregnancy. If all medical care were this good, I'm guessing we'd be a much healthier country. Laura

I would suggest you start by sitting down and sorting out exactly what it is you want from prenatal OB care. Regular ultrasounds? Blood Tests? Extensive prenatal testing (Screening for birth defects, aminio, etc)?

Then you once you do that you've got several options.

Option one is to stay with your OB and switch late in the pregnancy. The disadvantage of doing this, is that you don't get that time for bonding with your midwife that most homebirthers want.

Option two is called ''concurrent care'' meaning you stay officially with you OB, and pay your midwife out of pocket for prenatal care. DO NOT TELL YOUR OB you are doing this. With our first pregnancy our OB suggested that he would be happy to do concurrent care and have us change officially in the third trimester, then when his partners found, we were dimissed from the practice.

The third option is to pick a medically minded midwife, and they do exist. Certified Nurse Midwives are trained as nurses first, and are part of the medical establishment. If you ask around you will sometimes hear midwives described as ''medwives'' and those are the folks you probably want to talk to. I would seriously suggest that you talk to Amrit Khalsa, who worked originally as a Labor and Delivery Nurse, and I'm sure could accomodate you.

Whoever you interview, be honest about your concerns and if they are not supportive then they are not the right provider for you. In terms of what midwives do, it varies but almost everyone will check your blood pressure, your urine, measure you, and assess your overall health with more thoroughness than an OB will do, because they spend more time with you. I'm in midwife care, and I've chosen not to do most prenatal screening,(which I wouldn't do no matter who was caring for me) but I've had routine bloodwork, two ultrasounds (the nuchal screen and the level two test) and I have had a gestational diabetes test, and the option to do other testing, plus really excellent and thorough explanations of what the tests mean, and how they operate, not just ''everything looks good''.

It's definitely not an either/or decision, but a question of finding the practioner who meets your needs. Good luck. Doing it at home

Yes, of course a homebirth midwife will offer thorough prenatal care. I have heard that you can get your ultrasounds and blood tests covered by your insurance, but haven't tried this myself. Also, it isn't very common that a certified nurse-midwife would do a homebirth--usually they deliver in hospitals. But homebirth midwives are trained and certified as well, just not as nurses. Considered Homebirth Too

Having had 2 homebirths with concurrent OB/hospital CNM care, I can say that yes, unfortunately, most OB practices are now denying care to women whom they know will have a homebirth. This is because of the practice's malpractice insurance. This didn't seem to be the case before 2005. Anyway, I am not condoning or advising it, but you will hear from other mothers that you CAN continue to have OB/hospital CNM prenatal care, as long as you don't mention the homebirth plan. Frankly, you can choose to PLAN a homebirth but there are no guarantees, and as a woman and mother, you are entitled to birth wherever you most feel comfortable. Who knows, you may decide to birth at a hospital when you are nearer to term, or you may continue to want a homebirth. What I'm saying is that you're not exactly lying by continuing OB prenatal care AND seeing a homebirth midwife for that same care - you'll just have double appointments. And let's just say you continue to have a homebirth but n! eed to transport to hospital during labor (say, for ''failure to progress'' or something else - most transports are for non-emergency situations, by the way) - the hospital is REQUIRED to accept you even though you may not have done prenatal care with them or if you did not pre-register. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

-I WOULD pre-register with the hospital so that in case you do transfer to hospital during labor, they have a record of you.

-Homebirths cost between $4000.00 and $5000.00 and if you have a PPO, most all PPOs will cover about 70% of the cost (after deductibles). BUT, if you are going to continue doing OB prenatal care, the insurance company may wonder why you are in the care of two similar careproviders and will only reimburse one and not the other. For my 1st birth, I was lucky - my PPO reimbursed me for BOTH my OB's bills and my midwife's homebirth bills. But, for my 2nd birth, a different PPO took a year to reimburse me for my midwife's bills - and this was just the bill for the actual birth, since it had already reimbursed the OB practice for the prenatal visits. You have to be PERSISTENT with the insurance companies; they only reimbursed me after I hinted about seeing a lawyer regarding my legal and entitled reimbursement, this after a YEAR of calls and letters.

-Keep in mind that while homebirth midwives can do the glucose (gestational diabetes) test, other blood tests, the urinalysis, the vitamin K shot for baby, etc. they may not be able to get you an order for an ultrasound if you want/need one. It has gotten harder to do this but I think East Bay Prenatal in Oakland will still do them for homebirth midwives. This is why continuing prenatal with your OB/Hospital CNM is useful.

- You mentioned that you are thinking of doing a homebirth with a CNM. Why not switch OB practices and do concurrent care with a hospital CNM (Lindy Johnson or Hsiu Li?) and your homebirth CNM? You may still have to keep your homebirth plan to yourself, but you can ''feel her out'' and test the waters - say, mention homebirth and see what she thinks about them, etc. A hospital CNM will be able to order ultrasounds, etc. for you. Homestyle Midwifery used to do concurrent care for homebirth mothers; they were based at St. Luke's in SF but may have moved.

You CAN have your homebirth and still get some prenatal care from a hospital-based practice. You just have to think of all the logistics. Good luck, and congratulations! homebirth fan

A Certified Nurse Midwife is more than capable of handling all aspects of a normal pregnancy from emotional support to ultrasounds, genetic testing, labs and even some common complications. If you are a healthy woman, carrying a single baby without pregnancy problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or threatened preterm delivery, you may not even need to see an OB/GYN for your entire pregnancy. Even so, Certified Nurse Midwives are generally partnered with an OB/GYN to whom they refer if your pregnancy develops problems. I strongly recommend Beah Haber, CNM if you want to have your baby at home. Shs is not only warm and supportive, but she is experienced, knowledgable and professional. I think you should follow your instincts about birthing normally and go with a Certified Nurse Midwife for your care. I did and had a fantastic experience birthing my son at home. Good luck. Anon

I've just had a wonderful homebirth with midwives and I recommend it without reservations. There are a number of reasons why it makes sense to have your prenatal visits with your midwife. First, they take the time to get to know you and you them - and that is one big difference between the homebirth experience and the typical hospital one - your midwife knows you, your history, your preferences, your fears etc. She then uses that knowledge to respond more effectively and individually to your particular situation, rather than simply relying on a standard one-size-fits-all treatment. You also have developed a rapport and trust with her, which makes a big difference in your birth & postpartum experience.

Another reason for prenatal care with your midwife is that the midwifery model of care is qualitatively different than the medical model, which you will feel throughout your pregnancy. It makes a really big difference to have your questions answered with unbiased information from a practitioner who sees pregnancy & birth as natural processes rather than problems waiting to happen, and who respects you and honors your choices. As an example - when we told our midwives we had concerns about ultrasound and didn't know whether we wanted to do it, they gave us information about why people choose it, why people don't, when it is helpful and when information can be found through other means. I felt no pressure to choose one way or the other, and also knew that they were monitoring me in other ways and would recommend it if there were anything abnormal that needed closer examination.

As for routine procedures, yes, midwives perform many of them themselves (monitoring baby's heartbeat, blood tests, glucose, rhogam) and will refer you for others that they don't do (ultrasound or other invasive tests.) Interestingly, you'll find that midwives have greater expertise in non-technological methods - such as palpating baby to find position - than doctors usually have, and thus have more tricks up their sleeves to assist your labor without resorting to technological interventions. They actually have more experience with the many variations of normal birth than doctors do.

One distinction that you may want to be aware of - with this pregnancy I worked with Licensed Midwives (LMs) rather than CNMs. My first birth was with CNMs at a birth center, and while it was beautiful in many ways, I now see how my care in the birth center was less personal and more medicalized than it was with Homebirth LMs. Also, this may just be a quirk of my insurance company, but they say they will cover birth with LMs but not CPMs, which you may want to check out with your insurance.

I recommend ''The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth'' by Henci Goer, and ''Ina May's Guide to Childbirth'' by Ina May Gaskin, both of which will give you a sense of the benefits of working with midwives. Also, the Bay Area Homebirth Collective holds monthly Birth Story Potlucks - where you can hear stories, meet homebirth midwives and families, and get your questions answered. FYI, I worked with Abigail Reagan & Sue Baelen, both a part of the BAHC, and recommend them wholeheartedly.

Throughout my pregnancy, birth & postpartum period, I have gotten better care, information and support from my midwives than I ever have from doctors. I have also been empowered to take complete responsibility for my experience and my choices in a way I have never experienced with doctors. For this reason I chose not to have concurrent care with a doctor, and was never disappointed with that decision. Annemarie

I applaud your interest in having your second child at home, and encourage you to continue with the kinds of questions you've started as well as to check out some of your assumptions. One important question is why you want to birth at home and what your perceived benefits and risks are to making this and the alternate choices. And then test your perceptions by getting good information.

I had my first child in a hospital with a midwife/OB practice in SF. It went very smoothly and I felt supported for the most part by all the medical staff. There were moments when nurses tried to instill different plans (monitoring for monitoring sake) and encouraged an IV ''just in case,'' but that might impede my moving around. We were able to personalize the room a bit, but it was quite sterile. In between baby one and two, I had a miscarriage and some other medical issues. I was appreciative of the advantages of modern medicine, but also quite conscious of how de-personalized, sterile, and interventionist it can be too. When I got pregnant again, the last place I wanted to be was a hospital.

My second was at home with midwife Amrit Khalsa here in Berkeley. She has over 25years of experience delivering babies and has more ''scientific expertise of the establishment'' than many OBs. I loved it. I felt safer, more supported, much more informed throughout the prenatal process and coached in this amazing process. This cannot be emphasized enough - information in a useful way and true support and attention is so much more than ''touchy feely''. Because of my insurance (PPO) and my relationship with the OB/midwife practice of birth #1 (who were no longer doing deliveries), I was able to do some basic prenatal care through them that included ultrasound and various bloodtests. I did not feel like I needed anything from the OB, though, other than an office to run the tests through so insurance would cover it. Amrit read all the results and was more than proficient in appropriate protocol for dealing with any anomalies. She also paid attention to aspects of my ! health that few health care providers had ever asked about (diet, sleep, relationship, household cleaners, ...)

But this is a big choice - it's a significant philosophical difference in care, attention and personal responsibility. Be prepared for lots of opinions about how you should manage your health and that of your baby, and look inside for what will work best for you and your family. You'll know what to do and what is important for you. JV

I had all of my prenatal with my OB, but then had a homebirth planned with my midwife. My midwife DEFINITELY could and would have done all of the bloodwork, urine tests, etc., but my insurance would only have paid for it with the OB. I asked my OB whether I could have my prenatal care with her ''IF'' I decided to go with homebirth. She told me that once I informed her of any decision to have homebirth, she couldn't provide any sort of backup or necessarily do all my prenatal care. So we continued my prenatal care as if I were still thinking about my options. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. I am not entirely sure that she really realized we were definitely planning on the homebirth. She didn't want to know. It worked out really well for us like that since my partner wanted us to get all the prenatal with a doctor, my insurance paid for it this way, and then we had prenatal visits with the midwife as well and I just brought her copies of the medical tests. Good luck! anon

i had a homebirth this past summer and was amazed at how wonderful the experience was. my midwife was judy luce, in case you're looking! first of all, when i started my search for a midwife, i found that most of them advise you not to tell your ob/gyn because of the reaction you got. i didn't tell kaiser. i had prenatal care with both kaiser and judy, and i found that midwives do the same thing as ob/gyns except that they give you more attention (appts usually lasted 1 hr) and they also discuss the emotional aspect of giving birth. you can still go to your ob/gyn for bloodwork, etc.

to my knowledge i don't believe that most midwives will only see you for the birth and not participate in your prenatal care and i don't think that CNM's do homebirths, only lay and licensed midwives. i could be wrong, but this is my understanding. if you have any questions, please feel free to email me. best wishes, mazu

To the woman who wanted information re: homebirth with possible OB prenatal care - after reading the replies (I was one of them), I saw a bunch of misconceptions and basically not very accurate information given to you. I hope the following will help.

First - What is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)?

A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is an independent practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and is qualified to provide the Midwives Model of Care. The NARM certification process recognizes multiple routes of entry into midwifery and includes verification of knowledge and skills and the successful completion of both a Written Examination and Skills Assessment. The CPM credential requires training in out-of-hospital settings.

-What is a Licensed Midwife (LM)?:

A ''licensed midwife'' is an individual who has been issued a license to practice midwifery by the Medical Board of California. Licensed midwives, who have achieved the required educational and clinical experience in midwifery or met the challenge requirements, must pass the North American Registry of Midwives' (NARM) comprehensive examination. After successful completion of this examination, prospective applicants are designated as a ''certified professional midwife'' and are eligible to submit an application for California midwifery licensure.

In other words, most non-CNM midwives will be NARM certified as a CPM, but only once they pass the State Board exam can they become Licensed Midwives, something one must be to legally practice in California.

- What is a Lay Midwife?:

The term ''Lay Midwife'' has been used to designate an uncertified or unlicensed midwife who was educated through informal routes such as self-study or apprenticeship rather than through a formal program. This term does not necessarily mean a low level of education, just that the midwife either chose not to become certified or licensed, or there was no certification available for her type of education (as was the fact before the Certified Professional Midwife credential was available).

-What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)?:

A Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) is an individual educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery, who possesses evidence of certification according to the requirements of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. And yes, many CNMs choose to provide homebirths, as some CNMS do in the east bay. It's just that more of them work in hospital settings than homebirth settings. There are also some LMs who work in hospital settings (there used to be some at SF General), but most provide homebirths.

Lastly, I noticed that the poster whose midwife was Judy Luce said that ''most of them (i.e. midwives) advise you not to tell your ob/gyn because of the reaction you got''. I'm not sure if this was her personal experience but I have to strongly disagree with this. I'm an apprentice midwife who works with a local licensed midwife here (AND I know Judy personally), and I'm sure most of the midwives in this area will NOT advise you to NOT tell your other care provider (e.g., OB) of your concurrent care or your planned homebirth - midwives, as medical professionals, will explain all of your options to you but they will leave it up to the mother to decide what is in her best interest. I would hate to get a homebirth midwife ''in trouble'' because of what this poster said, or to have other medical professionals who are part of BPN believe that midwives are giving this kind of advise to their clients. They're not. My midwife/preceptor, for one (and she is not alone), will give her clients extensive information on their many options - be it regarding a blood test or regarding the benefits/drawbacks of hospital or homebirth or concurrent care - and will leave the decision to the clients. Many homebirth clients often end up choosing to keep quite about their planned homebirths to their OB, but this is different from saying that the midwives are telling them to do this. 2-timer homebirther

Should we tell our OB we're having a homebirth?

April 2007

My partner and I have started thinking that we'd like to try a home birth and use Alta Bates as our back-up but it seems that there are some complicatiins about that. Specifically, if we tell our ob-gyn, who we like a lot, that we're doing a home birth, then she and the other members of her practice no longer become who get called if we end up coming to the alta bates. Instead we would end up with whoever was working labor and delivery. If, on the other hand, we don't tell our OB but just end up coming in in a ''transport'' then this might make a few of the doctors in her practice very upst, and who wants to go through labor with a doctor who may be angry at you?! Still it seems wrong to give up the hope of a home birth because of these complications. And it's too late to switch to working with any of the Alta BAtes midwives. Has anyone else been through this? What did you do? Thank you!

Whatever you do, please do not lie to your OBGYN about your plans. OBGYNS are your saviors if you have any complication. They will come any time of day or night to meet you to make sure your birth is safe for both you and your child. Why would you ever lie to them? There are reasons for every rule and restriction that you are encountering, and those reasons are based on realities that may not be apparent to you. Please respect the people who devote their careers to the wellbeing of women and their children.

Furthermore, having had three children, I feel that the birth process is not the main point in all of this. The main point is the child. I belive the extreme focus on the exact wishes of the mother at the time of giving birth are misplaced. They are a final attempt to hold onto control as you move into one of the most primal moments of your life. You will not have the control you have in other aspects of your life during the birthing process, nor will you ever have control of your life in the way you have had it before. So, perhaps you can give yourself over to this reality before the actual birth and accept that an in- hospital birth can be OK, or that a home birth backed up by whomever is on call is OK. The birth is one half of one day (more or less), and the child is for a lifetime. To start your child's life in the context of a deliberate deception of the very people who are committed to your care seems very inaspicious to me. Grateful to my OBGYN

first I can't believe any medical person would be annoyed because you came to them via emergency transport vs through their own practice and even if they were, they would take care of you same as everyone else. they are medical staff, not lawyers.

In any case, it's not all that likely you will be treated by your OB if you give birth in a hospital anyway. I gave birth to both my children at Alta Bates and my OB wasn't at either of my children's births - nor were any of the 6 or 7 OBs in their practice! I asked one of the docs in the practice how many patients she treated that she actually delivered, she said about 30%. My advice: go for the home birth. anon

I can tell you my experience as someone who planned a home birth and ended up in the hospital. As far as I know I was under the care of the hospital doctors and a midwife at Alta Bates did the delivery (there was one midwife on duty and we were able to request her). I have no idea why you would come into contact with a doctor from your current practice - I think you will be under the care of the Alta Bates staff. And I was very happy with their care - no issues at all. As for the home-birth - I highly recommend it - the pre-natal care that I got from my midwifes was vastly superior to that which I had been getting from the OB.

I had a homebirth almost 8 years ago for my second child. My backup plan for pre-natal was my OB/GYN who had recently stopped doing deliveries. He was great - ran all the tests through his office for insurance purposes (I had a PPO) and was a nice supplement to my midwife visits. The midwives (Amrit Khalsa & team) were the best, most thorough medical care I've ever received. He made it clear that he could not be the birth back up MD. He was available for any questions I had, and I was grateful that I could be honest with him about my homebirth plan. I knew he had a different perspective on the risks than the midwives because he knew my previous pregnancy history as well as other gyn stuff. The midwives had an MD they worked with as a back up on occasion, but I didn't see him until I was almost 2 week overdue and there was concern about fluids, etc. I was very worried and wished that I had met him previously, but all went well and I was able to deliver at home. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

As to your question, though, about how to get your homebirth and your own ob/gyn back up just in case- I really think you need to decide what is negotiable and what is not. When in labor, especially if there is some danger or concern that would prompt a transport to the hospital, the last thing that I would want to deal with is keeping track of lies, omissions of truth, etc. At the end of the day, all we really have is our integrity, which for me is an alignment of my values and actions. Good luck! JV

Ob Gyn who is open to home births?

Nov 2006

i am looking for an ob/gyn with pacificare hmo who is open to or at least tolerant of homebirth. i live in emeryville, so anyone in the general area would be ok. ideally, the dr would be willing to be a medical back-up if needed.

In all honesty, if you planned a homebirth with midwives and needed to transfer to the hospital, you'd end up with whatever doctor was on call. Having an OB backup is entirely unneccesary for this reason in my opinion. It does makes sense to have an established relationship with an OB or NP in order to get your blood tests, etc. covered by insurance if you don't have a PPO that your midwives can accept. Even the most progressive OBs in the area are still within the Western medical model and at best they won't try to talk you out of your homebirth. If you want a homebirth, do your own research and don't depend on a doctor to give you the go ahead. Seek out great local resources like Birthways, The Bay Area Homebirth Collective, etc. Good luck! happy homebirther

Ob Gyn open to home birth, acupuncture and herbs

April 2005

I am trying to get pregnant and think my OB/GYN doctor is okay. But I am very interested in working with an OB that is open to me using alternative modalities, such as acupuncture and herbs. I would like to find a doctor who doesn't want to put me on hormones straight away. I also may want to have a home birth and want to find someone who will support my decision with that as well. I would love to know of an OB/GYN in the Oakland/Berkeley area that fits that bill. Holistically Minded

My Dr. is Dr. Carol Gerdes in Alameda. She supported my first home birth and now I am trying for a second. I see a midwife as well as her. I receive dual care so they both know what is going on in case the Dr. is needed in an emergency. She is open to all natural medicine and will wait in the delivery room as long as your labor is with out trying to give you pitocine or a c-section uless necessary or wanted by you. Good luck! marie