Fonticulus Fides

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Home births still illegal in Nebraska

Not really illegal altogether -- if a woman has a baby at home, she won't be prosecuted. However, if she is attended by a midwife or a doctor or a nurse, the medical professional will be prosecuted. Here's the latest story (and do scroll down to read the comments if this subject interests you at all).

Makes so much sense, doesn't it -- forcing people who choose home births to go without trained medical help?

When I was pregnant with Zooey, my doctor (family practiioner and very "earthy") suggested that I invite her over for dinner as soon as I go into labor, and if the baby comes before we made it to the hospital -- oops. My husband couldn't stomach the thought, though. Seriously, if we would have had any of our babies at home, he never would have entered whatever room they were born in again!

Fortunately, our local Catholic hospital has stepped up and made giving birth as comfortable and home-like as possible, without the parades of nurses, interns, etc. and pretty good food. A decent compromise, but it still would be better if women had a choice.



  • My major reservation about Nebraska at this point (well, one of two) is actually that I'll probably go for VBA2C with my next pregnancy, and I prefer to stick with the supportive doctor I know (if not him, I have personal knowledge of a woman who had a VBA2C with another supportive doctor in a convenient location)... and Nebraska's homebirth policy makes me wonder who else I would be able to find there if there is an overall "birth climate" reflected by that law. I'm not planning a homebirth next time but if I VBACed it would be nice to have it to consider in the future. I mean I'd rather have the known doctor either way, but if we really were motivated to move to another state I'd probably have a lot more confidence about some other places. Nebraska doesn't even seem to have an ICAN chapter! I know you praised the one hospital, but since I don't know anything about them I don't assume that would be an option for us as sometimes people are only supportive of natural birth for women who never had c-sections, let alone women who've had two.

    By Anonymous ro, at 9:17 AM  

  • My sister was at St. Elizabeth for the birth of her son in March and thought the staff and environment were very nice. It's too bad, however, that NE women aren't allowed to have home births w/ a doc/midwife if they choose. I wonder what the laws are up here in S.Dak...

    By Blogger Anne, at 2:19 PM  

  • RO, St. E's is surprisingly supportive of VBAC and even VBA2C. Their maternity nurses for the most part are awesome and very "midwifey" in attitude (I got a clanker with Lola, but I just held off until shift change before going into advanced labor).

    It is tough to think about finding a dr., but if you & the man do decide on Nebraska, I'll search my network of friends & my own family doc for a recommendation. (My family doc can't take on VBACs or planned C-Sections -- but if one of her patients needs an unexpected C-sec, she's allowed to assist).

    Anne, I don't know what the law is in SD, but I'm pretty sure Nebraska is the lone hold-out in this one. I believe the law is pretty old. It was passed when the only hospitals in Nebraska were maternity hospitals (all 3 run by Catholic nuns, btw), and they were actually doing a lot to save moms and babies during & after birth, while babies born at home with "amateur" midwives still had a very high death rate, as did their moms. And in those days, the maternity hospitals often assisted in delivery for free or in exchange for chickens or eggs or produce, very unlike today!

    Of course, that's changed now and the law should change, too. It's mostly just not considered a priority.

    By Blogger Sparki, at 5:10 PM  

  • Oh, that's a great thing to hear about that hospital, Sparki! It really has been a major thing lately making me think if we try the heartland thing, it will be years down the road -- but quite often I'm sad about that, because we are still quite interested in exploring that option. Haven't had the $ for much fun lately, let alone a halfway-cross-country trip in the year of $3 gasoline :( Your Weather Pixie makes me feel a little better about that. Definitely not a place to go to get away from hot summers! I keep picturing cornfields on fire from the sun.

    I never thought of asking you about specific birth options there because you haven't had a c/s and although friends of yours may have I figured people who want VBA2C are pretty rare these days. But I will take you up on the offer if our relocation explorations progress in that direction. Anyone who even offers what could be lip service to VBA2C at all these days seems likely to be more than words (whereas "we support VBAC" needs to be greeted with the same caution as "we support breastfeeding"... there's so often a "but" attached, and not a well-reasoned one.) ACOG's official recommendation/policy/whatever (last I checked) is that two or more c/s and no prior VB means you're not a "candidate" for VBAC, but of course ACOG doesn't make the law or anything, and that policy is only about two years old. There was a large, promising VBA2+C study recently which pretty much just added more backing to my take on the risks -- that they are increased, but only slightly; in fact in this study apparently VBA2C moms and moms w/1 prior c/s had *no* statistically significant difference in rupture risk, and prior VBs didn't make a difference; it seems that *one* study much smaller than that with particularly bad results may have motivated the "ban." There was even a comment from the head of what I believe is the same committee that passed the recommendation against VBA2C which, at least as paraphrased, said he expected the committee to change their recommendations. Even if they don't I think it is more positive evidence on the side of those who judge that at least in their individual case, attempting VBA2C is the most prudent choice. As I hope I will be...

    By Anonymous ro, at 6:55 PM  

  • It is the same way here in NY. The midwife who will be assisting in my upcoming birth will be doing so illegally, and will not be put on the birth certificate as a witness of an attendant. Just my husband.

    By Anonymous Pansy Moss, at 11:20 AM  

  • How much does it cost now a days to have a baby at the hospital? Is St. Elizabeth less expensive than others? What is the percentages of C-sections with St. Elizabeth? Does anyone know of a midwife in Lincoln who is willing to practice illegally? The laws here in Nebraska are quite different from Alaska. I just moved here and am disappointed at all the taxes and that I can't find a midwife! Have spent hours looking, all to no avail.

    Thanks for any help.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:51 PM  

  • Lydia, my youngest is now almost 4 years old, so I called St. E's.

    A typical vaginal delivery and 2-day stay for mom is $3,000 on average, and a typical 2-day stay for newborns is $1,600. I couldn't get the c-section rate (I was talking to accounting), but I'll try to do that for you.

    In the meantime, Sharon at St. E's accounting was super nice and said that if you want to call her, she'll send you information on the self-pay program and monthly payment options. Self-pay used to be that if you pay a little in advance every month, you saved money, but I'm not sure how they work it now. The St. E's accounting number is 219-7767.

    I'm afraid I personally don't know of any midwives who would buck the law. There may be an underground network, but if there is, I don't know how to contact them. All of my friends and family have gone the hospital route.

    If I were you, I would set up an appointment with our local midwifery practice (Hearts & Hands, 402-488-4903) and ask them if the laws may have changed since I posted this message last year, or if there is some other solution.

    By Blogger Sparki, at 2:00 PM  

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