What is a new hampshire certified midwife?

A NHCM is a midwife who has been certified through the New Hampshire Midwifery Council. The council is made up of 6 members: an obstetrician, a pediatrician, three midwives certified in NH, and one member of the general public who has familiarity with midwifery. These members serve without compensation and are administratively attached to the Department of Health and Human Services. (For more information on the midwifery statute and the midwifery rules, see http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XXX/326-D/326-D-mrg.htm)

A NHCM offers prenatal care, attendance at childbirth, postpartum care as well as support for a woman and her family during the normal child-bearing cycle. She shares with trained midwives all over the world these basic philosophies:

What is the midwives model of care?

The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes. The Midwives Model of Care includes:

  • Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother or birthing parent throughout the childbearing cycle
  • Providing the mother or birthing parent with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • Minimizing technological interventions
  • Identifying and referring women and people who require obstetrical attention

The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section. Copyright (c) 1996-2008, Midwifery Task Force, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

To learn more please visit the Midwives Association of North America.

Why home birth?

Just over 1% of Americans choose out of hospital birth, and do so for a variety of reasons. They often understand the risks associated with unnecessary medical intervention and seek to avoid such interventions, feel safer and more comfortable at home, appreciate the singular care that certified midwives offer, may seek to birth in water, but typically some combination of these and other factors. For more information about home birth, read the Midwives Association of North America position paper on home birth.

NH Freestanding Birth Centers

There are currently three, licensed, freestanding birth centers in our state. They serve women in New Hampshire and surrounding areas; offering supportive, skilled midwifery care by NHCMs in a comfortable, homelike setting. Homebirth services are also offered by most centers listed below.

Is it safe?

For healthy parents and their healthy babies, the outcomes of planned out of hospital births in homes and freestanding birth centers are equivalent to the outcomes for low-risk women birthing in the hospital. In several other nations, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Netherlands, out of hospital birth is a standard option available for most parents. 

Transfers from out of hospital care to medical care typically occur as a result of a lengthy labor or because the mother seeks pain medication; emergencies are very rare. Nonetheless, New Hampshire Certified Midwives are highly skilled; all midwives must be current in their Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) and Basic Life Support (BLS) certifications, and are otherwise prepared for a variety of scenarios.

Studies show that planned home births are safe.