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Laws on Home birth MWs in the Caribbean?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

We are looking at moving to the Caribbean in about a year or so. Idealy St. Lucia. I have been searching for info on the legality of CPMs there, but am having a hard time finding any info. Help would be great!

post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

Anyone? Are ANY of the islands in support of MWs/ Home birth?

post #3 of 14

Try the Dutch islands.


BES islands are Bonaire, St. Eustacius (sp?), and Saba



Dutch St. Maarten (not the French side).


All of these islands were formerly the Netherlands Antilles.  Aruba broke off first and now the BES islands are considered municipalities of Holland.   They don't have all the same rules but I'm pretty sure homebirth is normal as in Holland. 




post #4 of 14

Folks, in many Caribbean islands the  midwifery systems no longer exist although a few midwives may. Sigh. That's not by accident. I don't know about midwifery in St. Lucia. I've asked and never come across a younger Lucian who has had a homebirth. The fact is that most islands stepped away from midwifery/home births around 40 yrs ago. Most Caribbean folks are proud of this fact. Sigh. There is a movement to restore midwifery throughout the Caribbean. In many islands it's not illegal. It's just no encouraged. Not by a long shot! 

Check out www.consciousbirthbermuda.com and www.meetup.com/Bermuda-Home-Water-Birth-Meetup/ for eg. If you're on Fb check out "Mothers & Midwives for Protection of Birthing Rights in the Bahamas & TCI." Feel free to join the group. I am connected to women all over the Caribbean who are trying to restore midwifery on our islands. We could use all the help we can get. Hospital births are the order of the day in most of our countries. Most women aren't familiar with doulas either.



post #5 of 14

Jamaica, Barbados & Trinidad are the main islands (English-speaking ones that is) that have midwifery systems in place. Barbados & Trini stand out. Check out www.familybirthingcentre.net and www.mamatoto.net. They have midwives and doulas on staff and offer birth centre births and home births. Those are the places I'd touch base with if I were you. Visit them if you can.

With St. Lucia last time I knew midwifery studies was offered at their college, Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. I don't know if it's traditional midwifery though (ie homebirthing). You'd have to check that out.  You may find this interesting:

http://stluciastudentmidwife.blogspot.com. I don't know what kind of midwife this woman is mind you. Again she may just work in/be trained for hospitals. Shoot the term "midwife" is used for all sorts of things now. Sigh.

Check this out too. She worked in St. Lucia as a midwife or at least did some midwifery training there. Again she could've only been in  hospitals. Who knows.


I'd reach out to these two women if I were you (along with the SL college).


I couldn't tell you about the Dutch, Spanish or French-speaking islands. Midwifery may be alive there. Not sure. If you want to move to an island have you considered Dominica. A midwife is needed there! It's a beautiful island!!!!! Phenomenal culture.


Whatever you find out please shre it with us. There are a core group of Caribbean women who want access to homebirth midwives. We often struggle to find them on our islands because the few that exist no longer practice (they're up in age now) or there are none on our islands. Most women have been told that homebirthing is illegal. There are plenty of scare tactics thrown at us and it often works. However, there are always a few women who have unassisted homebirths or find a midwife who will help them quietly. It really shouldn't work this way though. 

post #6 of 14

Hi there,

I am a Doula and Childbirth Educator for 10yrs. I am also registered doula and childbirth Educator trainer. I lived in Canada for 11yrs and moved back to Trinidad my country of birth 2007. After seeing what maternity care is like in the Caribbean I made my mission to add Doulas to the mix. I am conducting a Doula Training in October here in Trinidad. I would love to come out to St. Lucia or otter Caribbean islands and add doulas to the mix as well. Having a Caribbean borne trainer would make the trainings culturally relevant allowing the new doulas to be fully prepared for the challenges they may face with respect to our socio/economical/political issues. If you need information, know of interested parties or know someone who could assist in getting this ball rolling please contact me Shantelle Sandiford at the CAPPA Caribbean office 1-868-705-1011 or shantellesandiford@hotmail.com


Best Regards,


Shantelle Sandiford CLD,CCCE

Doula & Childbirth Educator Trainer


post #7 of 14

I live in Dominica and really want a home birth (due May 2013) but am finding it very difficult to locate a midwife who would attend one.  In the last 2 years the Government in all its wisdom has removed the limited home birth facility and there is now a fear amongst midwives that they will lose their licence if they attend a home birth where something 'goes wrong'.  I have a few friends who have home birthed unassisted but as this is my first child, I would prefer to have a professional present.  I also know that some people bring in a midwife from elsewhere to birth their babies but my boyfriend and I do not earn enough to afford the travel costs and rates of a midwife from the States and certainly not the UK (where I am originally from).


I can be at peace with delivering in the hospital as long as I find a midwife who supports my natural birth plan.  Hopefully the hospital staff will also allow my doula (who has had 4 natural home births and assisted at 5 natural home births) to be there.  I also want my baby to receive its full placental blood volume (cord not cut straight away) and for the baby to be placed directly on my skin immediately after birth.  If these 3 things cannot happen at the hospital here then I am going to have to do my best to convince my boyfriend to consider an unassisted birth!

post #8 of 14
Hi!!! Have you considered a traveling midwife? There are a few who'd fly in from the US or other parts of the Caribbean. Would you be able to fly into Jamaica? Trinidad? Puerto Rico or even Florida for the birth?
post #9 of 14

Yes I looked into traveling midwives but we can't afford it.  A friend suggested I offer an exchange - a midwife could come and stay on our organic farm in a tropical rainforest for a couple of weeks in exchange for delivering our baby - but I'm not getting through with that either, maybe I'm looking in the wrong places...


There is no way I would travel to another country for the birth.  Not only does that seem like it would be even more costly, but I wouldn't know anyone or any place, and would probably feel very lonely and isolated for the duration of the stay.

post #10 of 14
Send me a private message. I might have some leads.
post #11 of 14

Hi there I'm in my first tri and I will be moving to Dominica in April so any additional information on home births and mid wives will be really helpful to me.

post #12 of 14

Hi Chirogirl!


Congratulations on your pregnancy!  And your move to Dominica! :-)  Is this your first child?  Do you know where you'll be staying when you get here next month?  So exciting!


I have recently found a midwife who is setting up an apartment for hosting natural-birthing mamas!   It should be possible to have a natural birth with her and/or her back-up midwife at this apartment, which is less than 15 minutes from the hospital in case of emergency.  The midwife is very pro-home/natural birth and is very well respected by the hospital staff.  She still needs to get some equipment before the birthing space is ready and is struggling to raise the funds for it so a few interested people are going to contribute to the costs.  Happy to share contact details if you'd like to speak to her directly about it.

post #13 of 14
Hi there Naturelle,
This is my second baby, the first one was delivered at home. I will be moving yo Grandbay. That's exciting news about the midwife.
I would love to get some more info about her.
Are you receiving prenatal care from her or the hospital.
post #14 of 14

Hey Chirogirl,


I've sent you a pm.


She is not able to offer pre-natal care at this time, so I am receiving that from my local health centre.  I've only been to the hospital twice, for blood tests and an ultrasound.  The midwife will use my records and her own judgement to assess whether I am in a good position for home birth nearer to my due date.  I've spoken to her on the phone/email numerous times and met her in person once.  She comes very highly recommended from a friend who had her baby at the hospital 6 weeks prematurely.  My partner and I will be going to visit her at home soon and check out the apartment she has for birthing.  It's quite close to Grand Bay, about 15/20 mins.

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