Midwives urge families not to jump ship on birth plans out of fear

“Out-of-hospital birth is a really great option for most low-risk women but it's not an option for everyone," says founder of Grand Rapids' SimplyBorn
Posted at 3:31 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 19:56:40-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Midwives in West Michigan are urging those about to give birth not to jump ship on their birthing plans simply out of fear over the coronavirus.

As concerns over contracting the virus escalate, some prospective mothers are feeling uneasy about going to a hospital to give birth, even if that is what they have been planning throughout their birth. Some are now reaching out to midwifery centers to inquire about what options they have for giving birth outside of a hospital setting.

“Out-of-hospital birth is a really great option for most low-risk women but it's not an option for everyone," said Sara Badger, LM, CPM, founder of SimplyBorn in Grand Rapids. "And as midwives we would really do a disservice to just take people out of fear."

SimplyBorn has been helping families faciliate at-home births since 2010. But they are now receiving more calls than ever before because of the new concerns around COVID-19.

"Our first phone call was 4 weeks ago. A gentleman was calling for his wife. They were ready to deliver shortly and asked if we would do an out-of-hospital birth for them," said Rhiannon McCalmont, operations manager at SimplyBorn. "I tried to reassure them and tell them it was best to stay with their current birth plan and move forward from there.”

Badger wants any prospective client to be well-informed as to what a home birth entails.

“You have to learn how your body works, there's no pain meds. You have to want a natural birth and not everyone is ready for that," she told FOX 17 Tuesday.

The staff at SimplyBorn have had to make some adjustments to how their business operates in order to preserve the health of all existing clients and staff members.

They are able to do many of their prenatal check ups via a video messaging service.

Staff has also had to sit down and figure out the maximum number of patients they would be able to take on in 2020. Those numbers are available on SimplyBorn's website blog.

Badger says prospective patients should ask lots of questions and be confident in their decision before switching from an in-hospital birth plan from one outside of the hospital system.

“I would say really take stock of why you are scared and then ask your providers what they have in place for those thing you are specifically scared of. If you are scared of contamination, if you are scared with having your newborn being separated from you, if you are scared of not having the people with you that you have been planning on," Badger said Tuesday. "Those are all things your provider can and will happily answer for you and tell you what the plan is.”