ASSIGNMENT 13: Birthing with Options

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Nearly 4 million babies are born in the U.S. every year. says in 2008, most moms in the United States, nearly 99%, gave birth in hospitals with the help of a physician.

But recently some expectant moms are looking to have more control and fewer medical interventions when it comes to bringing their little ones into this world.

When it comes to childbirth, what are some of the non-traditional ways women are having babies these days?

“Having out-of-hospital births, wasn't even an option, wasn't even on my radar,” said Stacey Bounk.

After her first 2 caesarian sections, she realized that wasn't what she wanted. A mother of five, Bounk went a non-traditional route.

“Home birth is not scary, a lot of people think it's that scary thing, it's not scary,” said Bounk, who delivered 3 of her sons at home.

She says having her entire family present during birth, and her older kids holding the newborn moments after, is something she could only experience through birth at home.

“I just liked being able to do my own thing, and walk and being able to do what I wanted to do; my midwife actually pushed food, that was awesome,” explained Bounk.

Erin Kaspar-Frett, a private practice Certified Professional Midwife was there when Bounk's last two boys took in their first breath.

“Anything goes, as long as mama and baby are healthy and safe,” said Kaspar-Frett, an Earth Mother midwife.

That includes laboring on a birthing ball, in a shower or a bathtub and Kaspar-Frett says education is a big component of her practice.

“I think it's really important to understand what's going on inside your body. It helps you get pregnant, it helps you bring new life into the world, it helps you nurse your babies, and care for your babies,” explained Kasper Frett.

One of a few things a Certified Professional Midwife, like Kasper-Frett, can't offer is pain medication.

Kasper-Frett says she always has an emergency plan for each family, but they're rarely needed.

“We knew that I was in safe hands, even though I wasn't in a hospital setting,” said Lisa Traaseth.

Traaseth decided to give birth to her second baby girl in a home-like setting, but not her home.

“The birth center really provides the middle ground and environment for people who know they don't want to be in the hospital, and not quite comfortable having their child at home,” explained Rebecca Gorski, with the Morning Star Birth Center.

Morning Star Birth Center in Menomonie works with about four women a month, from prenatal care to the moment they first hold their babies in their arms.

“It was a very a very intimate, personal experience,” said Traaseth.

“I was able to pretty much able to deliver my own baby and bring her up to my chest, which I think that every mom in labor would want.”

Morning Star also provides education for future moms and dads. Just like private midwives, the birth center only works with women who have low-risk pregnancies.

“I don't take a lot of medication normally, and so as far as having a baby, I also wanted to stay away from too much medication,” said Kristin Nelson.

Nelson felt safer giving birth at a hospital, but still wanted an alternative birthing experience.

“I chose the tub (birthing tub at Sacred Heart Hospital) versus the bed, because I'm very comfortable in the water, it's very relaxing for me both mentally and physically,” said Nelson.

“It gives you freedom too, to more around into different positions,” she said.

Baby Henry made his entrance under water at Sacred Heart.
Marshfield Clinic's Certified Nurse Midwife Kris Handley was there to help.

“I love it when women can just move how they need to move in labor, and not feel like they need to be in a certain position,” said Handley.

“We always tell people that it's all a part of the dance of labor,” said Certified Nurse Midwife with Marshfield Clinic, Margo Bolton.

“They can get in the tub, they can get back in the tub to push, they can push on land. It’s whatever they want to do, what feels right at the time.”

That’s the message the midwives at birthing centers, private practices and hospitals want to send; whatever option you chose, comfort and peace of mind-is key to successful birth.

“Because of being mammals our labor will be dysfunctional. They'll stop, they'll slow down, they'll be more painful and longer if fear and adrenalin come into play,” said Kasper-Frett.

“It’s important to be able to choose how you want to deliver your baby. It's going to be probably most momentous day, moment of your life,” explained Nelson.

“It’s equivalent to running a marathon [or] climbing Mount Everest. It's a huge emotional and physical experience,” added Handley.

Marshfield Clinic midwives say they've delivered around 300 babies last year at Sacred Heart.

The birthing centers and private practice midwives say they will work with any insurance, but make sure to talk to your providers about coverage before you chose to go that route.

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