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Birthing Options Available in Sandpoint

When I was having my first baby, in the late 1970s, most women were held down on their backs, their feet buckled tightly into cuffs in stirrups so they couldn’t take them out, with our hands buckled into cuffs as well. If I promised not to touch “the sterile area” I could be unbuckled.

A midwife measures the height of the mother's ...

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Times have changed, thankfully!

We’re really fortunate in Sandpoint. We have a fantastic hospital, and great OBs and nurses in this town. We also have options.

If you’re a low-risk mother, a midwife-assisted homebirth or birth-center birth can be a great option. But there are many misconceptions, if you’ll pardon the pun, and outdated notions about midwives and midwife-assisted births. When I talk to other midwives, I find that we answer many of the same questions on a regular basis. So allow me to dispel a few myths about midwife-assisted births:

1. “Midwives aren’t licensed.” We are now. When you “shop” for a midwife, be sure to ask if she’s licensed and certified. That will tell you how much training and education she’s had.

2. “Midwives don’t take insurance.” We do take most major insurance. As licensed and certified health care providers, most insurance companies recognize that a midwife-assisted birth (for low-risk mothers) is a financially smart choice.

3. “Midwives have no medical training.” Actually, we are highly trained in pre-natal care, labor care, and newborn care. We bring an array of medical equipment to all births.

“Midwives don’t monitor the baby during labor.” We use fetal monitors, and closely monitor the baby throughout labor.

4. “If something goes wrong, there’s nothing the midwife can do.” Midwives are licensed for low-risk births. We can identify potential problems during pregnancy, and refer you to an OB. Since we monitor the baby throughout labor, if we detect a problem, we immediately transport to a hospital. If a baby has problems immediately after birth, we are highly-trained in emergency medical care for newborns, and will care for the baby until we arrive at the hospital.

5. “Homebirths are really messy.” Birth is a messy business, no doubt, but clean-up is part of the service! As one mom said, “Unless you dug through my trash, you’d never know I just gave birth in my bedroom!”

If you’re interested in exploring your birthing options, interview some local midwives. We offer birth center births, homebirths, prenatal care, and postnatal care.

Denise Midstokke, Licensed and Certified Professional Midwife, has been a midwife for 32 years, and has been practicing in North Idaho for 25 years. Pend Oreille Midwifery Services is located at 723 Pine Street, Sandpoint. (208) 263-0776

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