Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Carrboro Midwifery helps moms give birth at home

Posted October 31, 2010

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, North Carolina has seen a "significant increase" in home births in recent years.

But those who attend home births or want them say that the state presents a significant hurdle as well. Jane Gledhill and Deb O'Connell Carrboro Midwifery helps moms give birth at home

Unlike most states in the country, North Carolina does not license certified professional midwives, who have received certification from the North American Registry of Midwives, to practice in the state. And certified nurse-midwives, who are trained as both nurses and midwives, must get a doctor's signature before they can practice legally.

Few doctors are willing to back an independent nurse-midwife. That means most nurse-midwives practice in hospitals where doctors support them. Few are legally allowed to tend to women who want to give birth at home.

One of the few certified nurse-midwives in the region who can practice is Deb O'Connell. O'Connell, the mom of three, opened Carrboro Midwifery in January and has been busy ever since. O'Connell has worked for years as a midwife and was on the faculty of UNC-Chapel Hill before opening up her practice.

O'Connell developed her passion for home births as a student attending births in the Amish community of Lancaster, Pa. Today, she says it's a safe option for women with low-risk, normal pregnancies.

O'Connell, along with Jane Gledhill, a certified nurse-midwife who recently received a doctor's support to practice, spoke with me about what nurse-midwives do and a bit about current efforts to change law in North Carolina to make it easier for midwives to practice here.

Gledhill is working with O'Connell for the next year and then plans to open up her own practice.

Learn more about what they do and the benefits of home birth in the video. And check back next Monday to meet a Raleigh mom who is due to give birth at home this month with O'Connell's help.

For more on midwives in North Carolina, check out North Carolina Physicians for Midwives, the North Carolina chapter of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and North Carolina Midwives Alliance.


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  • Butterflies Nov 8, 2010

    Well I dont agree with it because my 2nd child was born and won't breathing, and they had to work on him for what seemed like an eternity. My 3rd child was born and had to be rushed by helicopter to a bigger hospital because she would not breath on her own. I had healthy pregnancies and there was no sign at all that my children would have complications. What if I had been in my home? You never know whats going to happen, therefore you should birth these little sweeties in a well equiped hospital. You can elect not to have drugs, or even a Dr..a midwife is fine. But at least have enough sense to do it where if something goes wrong there will be people there to take over!

  • myself Nov 2, 2010

    Had my 4th at home and wish I had choose to do with my 1st 3! So glad to hear that more women will have the chance to choose this option instead of being forced to birth at a hospital.

  • boatrokr Nov 1, 2010

    So glad to see this. The state has no right to tell women where, or with whom, to birth. They can't force someone to use medical care - so they get around that by making it impossible to choose an attendant besides a doctor.


  • Killian Nov 1, 2010

    I had a midwife for one of mine and I became a certified doula a long time ago. This is a fantastic option for women looking to have a natural, mellow birthing environment. Kudos to them!

  • cad Nov 1, 2010

    I had a certified nurse midwife deliver two of my three children in a hospital. Wonderful experience! I highly recommend nurse midwives.