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Home Birth Is Safer and Faster

Posted by on Apr. 28, 2013 at 3:57 PM
  • 104 Replies
4 moms liked this
I love this article. Home birth is not for everyone, but it is such an amazing, sensual, and unforgettable experience.

Kim Jacob of Conway said having a baby at home never occurred to her until her sister-in-law did it.

Not only did Jacob have a home birth, she is a licensed and nationally certified midwife.

“We have gained so much more respect and built our profession,” Jacob said.

Jacob has more than 20 “active” clients and will attend their home births with an assistant.

She and her husband, Nathan, moved from Colorado to Cabot when she was pregnant with their first child, Antigone, 14.

Jacob had a doula, a labor coach, in the hospital. She said the woman, also a midwife, now works in labor and delivery at Conway Regional Medical Center.

“I felt so cared for by her, as a doula, and I was so inspired by her,” Jacob said.

Because Jacob had no risk factors and was healthy, she decided to have a home birth and a midwife with her second child, Simon, 12.

“I thought, ‘You know, that’s a lifestyle,’” Jacob said.

“I said to Nathan, ‘Hmm, I feel like maybe I want to be a midwife.’ I got this really floaty feeling, like I was floating up off the couch. Nathan looked at me like, ‘Yeah, OK,’” Jacob said, laughing.

Jacob said she is certified as a doula, too, but her main role is as a midwife.

She’s also the chairwoman of the Arkansas Department of Health Midwives Advisory Board.

“Home birth is only for low-risk people,” she said.

“All our clients see another practitioner twice in their pregnancy.

Someone else has seen the blood work. If they become high risk for any reason, we’re transferring. We’re experts for normal births.”

The state provides free risk assessments for home-birth clients, she said, and most of the women go to a county health department.

Jacob said all her clients get ultrasounds early in their pregnancies.

A midwife is on the same schedule with the woman as an obstetrician, Jacob said.

“At our prenatals, we’re measuring, feeling positions, checking urine and blood pressure,” she said.

She said checkups are given once a month until the woman is 28 weeks pregnant; then every two weeks until 36 weeks. When the woman is 36 weeks pregnant, Jacob and the other midwives and doula, if there is one, visit the patient in her home. After that visit, the midwife sees the woman once a week until the birth.
Couples order a birth kit with disposable items, and Jacob brings other equipment that she sterilizes, she said.

“We spend more time [than an obstetrician]. We stay at least two or three hours after the birth,” Jacob said. “I go back at least three times postpartum.”

Jacob said most Arkansas midwives charge $3,000, which is at the low end of the nationwide range, which can be as much as $7,000, she said.

She said statistics show that planned home births “are as safe or safer than hospital birth. That’s the reality.”

“My personal statistics are about 7 percent of when we need medical support; statewide, it’s 7 to 12 percent,” Jacob said. “The majority of that is not emergency.”

She said sometimes a woman will be exhausted, or the baby “is not in a great position.”

“Usually when we go to the hospital, I’ll call and say, ‘Hey, this is Kim Jacob. I’m here with a client, and she’s kind of running out of batteries. She might need Pitocin, an epidural and some sleep.’”

She said midwives have neonatal resuscitation and CPR training.

“It’s very rare that we have an actual emergency that we have to rush to the hospital. … Of course, we’re trained to handle that,” she said.
“These people are super healthy; they don’t have risk factors. We’re not meddling. They’re not getting epidurals; we’re not strapping them to the bed. We see that physiologic birth works better. It just works better; it’s faster,” Jacob said.

“Because I would say the majority of our clients are college-educated, some of them overly educated people, they’re really just looking and questioning and hearing stories and seeing statistics,” Jacob said.
She said most of her clients have water births, and a birth pool is used.
“It’s a nice transition for that baby to come out in that warm water — from a warm body, into warm water. Those babies seem to be a lot more calm. They’re still getting oxygenated by the cord,” she said.

She said women who use midwives have a 99 percent or better breast-feeding success rate past six weeks, too.

Anna Bowden and her husband, Kraig, of Conway hired Jacob to be the midwife for the birth of their daughter, Bell Ivy, seven weeks ago.

“Kim was wonderful,” Anna said. “Kim is just so calming. [She’d say] ‘It’s going to be OK; we’re going to do this,’” Anna said.

“Kraig got to catch; she was born underwater, which was so relaxing.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better; that’s what I tell everybody,” Anna said.

More information on midwifery can be found at or kjacob
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or
by on Apr. 28, 2013 at 3:57 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Bronze Member on Apr. 28, 2013 at 5:24 PM
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Interesting. How is it sensual though?
by Silver Member on Apr. 28, 2013 at 5:32 PM
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I've been trained for neonatal resuscitation and CPR, and I'll take doctors, nurses and some nice cold sterile monitoring equipment any day.
Not knocking those who do, but not for me.
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by on Apr. 28, 2013 at 5:37 PM
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The are 'safer' because they only accept low risk pregnancies. The title is misleading. At first sign of a complication, the patient is passed on - no wonder the hospital has a higher rate of complications!
by on Apr. 28, 2013 at 5:45 PM
Thanks for sharing. I'm from Arkansas. Though I have relocated. I was born at home and am now anticipating the first homebirth of our second child in the coming weeks.
by Silver Member on Apr. 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM
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So many of my girlfriends tried to talk me into having a home birth I had a feeling that it wasn't for me. Thank God I went with my gut or my son would be dead. He came out not breathing and pretty much dead and had to be brought back to life. If we have been at home never have lived. So glad I went with my gut.
by Just Jess on Apr. 28, 2013 at 6:29 PM
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I don't think that's its safer for everyone.
I also disagree that it's faster for everybody.

Not everyone wants or can have a home birth.
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by Just Jess on Apr. 28, 2013 at 6:31 PM
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LOL! I prefer birthing in a hospital as well. I was all natural walking around with each delivery. My friend who had a home birth was on the couch in pain all day and her labor lasted 26 hours. With my three kids my labors were: 5 hours, 2 hours 15 minutes, & 3 hours.
Quoting shannonnigans:

I've been trained for neonatal resuscitation and CPR, and I'll take doctors, nurses and some nice cold sterile monitoring equipment any day.

Not knocking those who do, but not for me.
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by Silver Member on Apr. 28, 2013 at 6:39 PM
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Give me a hospital and c-section anyday.

In NP school I attended a lot of home births, and those monitored by Midwives. They truly are experts at what they do, and they do weed out all those who are high risk as well. All that said, there is still so much risk. Far more than I'd be willing to take. I've seen the good and the bad, the bad is really scary, even when they aren't high risk.

I like the idea of having a physician attend the birth, and if not, at least they are right down the hall. I like the idea of all equipment in place and ready to use, even if not necessary. A lot of hospitals have birthing centers now, and it is a great home type environment, with all the safety measure in place- I'd recommend that for anyone who really wants to do the home birth...

by Socialist Hippie on Apr. 28, 2013 at 6:42 PM
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I am a Nicu nurse- I"ll go with safety over a certain experience. IMO, the most important aspect of a birth is the safety of the 2 patients- 

I also had an emergency arise with my first- she would have died had I been at home-

by Silver Member on Apr. 28, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Oh- and it isn't faster. Labor is labor. Midwives don't show up, or ask you to come to a birthing center until you reach a certain level of pain and frequency with contractions. You are still in labor, even if it isn't at the hospital. Plus, they will recommend a lot of various "natural products" such as castor oil, having sex, etc to stimulate the labor. They want you do be doubling over in pain not just saying "oh yeah, they are 10 minutes apart... they aren't going to wait around while a woman labors. They are there for a job- to deliver the baby... they also won't go more than a certain period of time after the water ruptures (usually no more than 24 hours).

It may appear faster, but it's not.

They may also say it's safer, because a lot of hospitals and physicians may do unnecessary procedures... episiotomy, etc- but that is where a birth plan comes into place, regardless of where one may deliver. You don't need an IV, etc, unless ti really becomes necessary. It's all int he planning and selecting the right provider, one who has a similar philosophy, and isn't worried about rushing off to vacation or a golf game.

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