illegal homebirth????? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 03-28-2003, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok - I very much want to have a homebirth with our next child (not even TTCing yet!) but i am confused as to what my options are in a state where midwives are 'illegal'.

We are planning to move to North Carolina (Charlotte area) in the next six months - and I have just found out that it is 'illegal' to pratice midwifrey what exactly does that mean? Does this mean I will not be able to have a homebirth? If I do have one will *I* have anything to worry about legaly???? I am just so confused.....

It is going to take alot to convince DH to agree to a homebirth in the first place, and this added issues is not going to make it any easier (espically since he is an attorney)....

Grace - photographer, wife and mom to 4 great kids (Ethan 5.00, Ainsley 4.02, Owen 12.04, and Ellis Ann 10.07) :
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#2 of 9 Old 03-31-2003, 04:30 AM
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I live in Charlotte and want to have a homebirth with my next baby, too. Go to some La Leche League meetings, natural mothering or attachment parenting groups. You'll meet someone who can get you in touch with a lay midwife.
It's taken me over 2 years to get my husband to ok a homebirth. I wanted one with my first baby, but he was strongly against it. Leave some books in the bathroom that talk about how safe homebirth is (mark the chapters you want him to read).
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#3 of 9 Old 03-31-2003, 04:29 PM
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Homebirth legal issues are pretty sticky sometimes. For example, in Utah at the moment, parents are specifically allowed to give birth wherever they want, midwives can be accused of practicing medicine without a license and that's a felony, so midwives who attend homebirths are really sticking their necks out. So parents who homebirth aren't in legal trouble, but midwives could be.

If you have questions about the legality of midwifery or homebirth in your state, I'd check out the Citizens for Midwifery website ( They have a table where you can see the legal status of direct entry midwifery state by state and also they have listings of people/groups to contact if you have more questions, like local CFM groups, midwifery groups, etc. Good luck as you sort this all out!
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#4 of 9 Old 03-31-2003, 05:24 PM
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As stated above, homebirth is never illegal. If you and DH decided to have your child at home, there is nothing the state could do to you - that's your choice. HOWEVER, who you can legally have in attendance does vary by state. I would definitely contact CFM to see if there is a local chapter in your state. I would also contact your state legislators to 1) ask them to clarify the law for you and 2) express your desire to have a homebirth with a trained attendant present. Is it illegal for CNM's to do homebirths in North Carolina?

You may also contact MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America) or NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) for referrals. But do realize that if you need to transfer to a hospital, you cannot bring your midwife with you. You would have to lie to protect her from "practicing medicine without a license" so make sure both you and DH are comfortable with that possibility.

Good luck and let us know how you make out!
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#5 of 9 Old 03-31-2003, 06:11 PM
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Non CNM's are not legal in my state, and very few CNMs will attend a home birth so when my sister used a lay midwife, we told her current practitioners and the vital records office, as well as the nurse that visited to interview her for the brith certificate that it was unattended by anyone except family. If we had to go to the hospital, she would not have been able to attend officially...but she has said she has done medical transfers in the past and the climate here is improving...the hospital was aware she was the midwife but overlooked it...and even in some cases took medical info from her. You could say she is the doula, a relative, etc. Not too long ago, lay midwives were being arrested in my seems to go in waves. But be aware of their legal situaion, don't give out their name unless she says it's ok. And if you decide to use one...don't let yourself be pressured into turning her in. You are making an informed decision to accept the risk yourself.
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#6 of 9 Old 04-02-2003, 09:00 PM
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Homebirths are not illegal in NC. However, There are legalities regarding any kind of knowledgable person who may attend you. (there are ways to work with & around the legalities) Even giving advice/evaluation, etc. is considered the practice of nursing, so in some ways it's a little more legal for a nurse to at tleast be there to assess you, give you & your partner advice, etc. There are three CNM's that i'm aware of doing homebirths. Two are doing it legally for CNM's (yes, there are even certian restrictions for the CNM's) & one is doing it illegally for CNM's. There are no CNM's attending homebirths either legally or illegally in the Charlotte area. If you would like to discuss the situation in NC more in depth, I welcome you to contact me privatley. I am a homebirth attendant of 22yrs. & i do practice in the Charlotte area. This is a very beautiful & varied state in many ways. Have a nice Day! Karen of BirthTender
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#7 of 9 Old 04-02-2003, 09:46 PM
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My midwife is currently in court with charges of practicing medicine without a liscence (I can not tell you how careful she is with every word to be sure that she never practices medicine). Anyhoo it was illegal for hr biut not for me. Shortly before lilys birth they passed a law saying it was legal for family to attend the boirth. Before that I am assuming it was illegal for anyone but themother to be there. The tricky part about ti is , that you go to file the birth certificate and they ask you who attend the birth. You lie and say the only person there was my dh (the only legal option) and the lady at the desk thinks that is an abomination not to have a qualified attendant there. So she calls CPS and your unattende dhome birth turnsd into child neglect because birth is fraught with danger : and you should have cared enough about your shild to have them in the hospital regaurdless of what you selfish desires were (angain I say : : : ) So even though it is legal for you to have a birth without a midwife (or to lie and say there wasn't on e there) you can get into trouble if someone thinks you are endangering your child. I know it is stupid in the stupidist way but it something to consider.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#8 of 9 Old 04-05-2003, 01:41 AM
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My understanding - and this could be totally wrong - is that it's not illegal to have a midwife, it's illegal to be one.

But, this can also cause trouble for a birth certificate, I hear, because if you list the midwife as an attendant she could be in trouble. So it might help to not mention you had a midwife, and list your dh as the witness and say you tried to get to the hospital but the little guy just flew right out like they do in the movies (because we all know how much birth is like the movies!

: )

But it could be the only problem will be if something goes wrong, which it probably won't.
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#9 of 9 Old 04-05-2003, 02:40 AM
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I don't know of any cases where parents were accused of endangering the infant's life by having an unassisted home birth. Like greaseball said, you could just play it off like it was unplanned - everything just happened so fast. As long as the outcome is favorable, I don't think you would have anything to worry about. And even if it wasn't, I still don't see why social services would get involved.
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