What You Should Know About Home Birth in Massachusetts
Considering having a home birth in Massachusetts? I’ve got your back! This guide is not exhaustive, but it should help you start your search for Massachusetts home birth midwives if you’re looking for one. Before I get into it, though, I need to let you know that the information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Now that that’s out of the way…
First, you ought to know some of the basics about how providers are vetted. Currently, Massachusetts regulates only CNMs (certified nurse midwives), but CNMs don’t usually perform home births, although they can if they want to. Most home birth midwives in Massachusetts are CPMs (certified professional midwives), who are not regulated by the state (although there is pending legislation that would change this). The few midwives who are not CNMs or CPMs are usually DEMs (direct entry midwives), who may or may not be certified—some pursue certification through North American Registry of Midwives or other bodies, and others do not. When deciding who your provider will be, make sure to ask them about their training and certifications.
Why Home Birth?
Everyone anticipating childbirth wants to make sure that they’ve researched all of their options. Where will you give birth? Who will be in attendance? What type of pain medication do you want to have available?
Every family is different, so the ideal birth environment will vary significantly from one family to another. Some of the considerations that lead families to decide to have home births include:
- Home is a comfortable, familiar environment that may bring peace and solace during birth. Studies have shown that labor can stall for a period of time while the mother transitions to the hospital. All mammals look for a quiet, safe space when in labor. What safer place is there than your home?
- Home is private. This is related to the first point: low-key, private environments tend to be more comfortable than environments in which strangers (even strangers who are present to oversee a healthy delivery) come in and out of the room at will.
- There are no limits or other regulations on who is allowed to attend a home birth in Massachusetts. While home births are private by nature, they also allow parents to invite anyone who would be of comfort to the birthing person. This includes siblings, who many home-birthing families want to include as a meaningful part of their labor and delivery process.
- Many mothers feel that they are “more in control” of their environment at home. At home, there are no strict policies that dictate what you can do, how your can move, or how you set up the space around you. You are free to set it up in whatever way makes the most sense to you.
- After a home birth, parents get to rest without interruption. This was actually my own biggest personal gripe about my two hospital deliveries: I slept maybe 2 hours either night as nurses came in to check my/my babies’ vitals incessantly, it seemed. I also just couldn’t get comfortable in the hospital bed. It’s no wonder that one of the draws of home birth is that parents get to sleep in their own beds, waking as needed to care for the infant rather than waking every hour or two because of hospital policies.
While home birth is not right for everyone—for instance, those who have a history of serious complications, those who are experiencing a high risk pregnancy, or those who are hoping to use pharmacologic pain relief methods like epidural or narcotics in labor—home birth can be a beautiful birthing experience for many. One of the most important considerations for your home birth in Massachusetts is your provider.
What to Look for in a Home Birth Provider
Your home birth provider will play a vital role in your birth experience. Here are a few things to look for when choosing your birth provider:
- What are their qualifications? Are they licensed by Massachusetts? Certified by another body? How much experience do they have? Birth is a normal human process, but they should be able to tell the difference between different variations of “normal” vs. something emergent.
- Do they make you feel supported? Do they honor your values and wishes? It’s important that your midwife respects your decisions after you’ve been informed of your options.
- Are they located nearby where you live? Obviously you want to make sure they’re close enough that they can get to you in plenty of time.
- Are they willing to answer your questions? Your midwife should allot enough time for you to ask questions and to address any concerns.
- Are their services covered by your insurance, and/or do they offer sliding scale payment plans? Some midwives will help you navigate your insurance benefits, although most home births in Massachusetts aren’t covered by insurance. Many home birth midwives offer payment plans or sliding scale options.
Home Birth Midwives in Massachusetts
To help you out in your search, I’ve put together a list of highly praised and respected home birth midwives in Massachusetts. This is not exhaustive by any means, and I may update it here and there as I’m able.
Boston and Eastern Massachusetts
Stephanie Johnson (DEM, LC, CBE), Maria Caudle (DEM), Melody Cunningham (CLC), Adrianna Jean Louise (CP/DP), Kendra Dufour (CLC), Janelle Dominique (RN), Danielle N. Champagnie (LPN), Lori Caiby (CLC), Dashanna Hanlon (doula), Alrene Lammy (doula), She-Tara Smith (doula)
At Roots Midwifery, Stephanie Johnson and her team offer “culturally-safe and evidence-based health care from professionals who get it.” This beautiful purpose reflects this agency’s intent to serve women of color, who face unique challenges when giving birth in America. Stephanie has earned the honor of being Massachusetts’s first (and the only, as of the time of this writing) Black home birth midwife.
This team is a great match for parents of color looking for a midwife who can offer support and an understanding of the unique challenges people of color experience during this special time. Offering personalized and hands-on comprehensive care and postpartum follow-up, Roots Midwifery makes their mamas feel special and seen.
Susanna Mauzy (CPM)
Nightingale Midwifery prides itself on providing unbiased, evidence-based information to all of its birthing clients. In addition to providing home birth services, she also offers pregnancy loss support (whether you’ve met her prior to your loss or not) and doula services. She also provides well-care throughout the life cycle and is unique in that she can also provide home IUI and ICI fertility services. Nightingale Midwifery serves all families, regardless of race, age, gender, family structure, country of origin, age, and/or ability.
Roslindale and Arlington, MA
Audra Carp (CPM), Tara Kenny (CPM, CLC, Doula)
At Boston Community Midwifery (BCM), the home birth midwives “believe that a supported, nurtured and well-nourished pregnancy is the best assurance of a healthy baby and birth.” Audra and Tara work together as a team with every patient, regardless of race, religion, sexuality, gender, age, ability and family structure, to empower and support them through pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. BCM provides comprehensive care until 6 weeks postpartum, for both parent and child. As a bonus, they also have all required equipment for waterbirth available, which you are able to rent if you feel that you’d like to incorporate a tub in your labor or birth.
Stoughton and Arlington, MA
Jessica Petrone (CPM), Sarafina Kennedy (CPM), Emily Bowler (CPM), Maria Caudle (DEM)
Birth Matters believe that an expecting mother should be able to have her questions answered any time of the day, so they are available 24/7 for their clients. They also believe prenatal care should never be rushed, so all prenatal appointments are at least 1 hour. Their postpartum care is some of the most comprehensive that you’ll find with 6 postpartum visits between delivery and the 6-week mark. Birth Matters empowers women by providing education on nutrition, exercise, prenatal testing, and newborn care.
Kim Lueders (CPM)
Offering both midwifery care and doula services, Kim Lueders of MetroWest Midwifery is well-connected in her community. While most prenatal visits take place at the parent(s)’ home, she also occasionally meets clients at her farm in temperate weather. Her midwifery support is quite thorough, from prenatal care to (5) postpartum visits. Kim also has training in HypnoBirthing, Spinning Babies, herbal medicine, and Reiki.
Nicole Cisneros Pegher (CPM, LM)
Nicole at South Shore Home Birth provides full-scale prenatal and postpartum care for out-of-hospital births. This includes full-scope prenatal care, blood work, nutritional guidance, genetic counseling, and childbirth classes. Most prenatal visits last an hour as the midwives set aside a healthy chunk of time to get to know the client, partner, and even her other children. They offer classes and seminars on the following topics: childbirth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, home births, and birth circles.
Jessy Lou Bready (CPM)
Jessy Lou Bready of PEACE (Perinatal Education and Childbirth Experience) Midwife is a traveling midwife who provides “comprehensive, natural, holistic care” and supports parents choosing to pursue home birth in Massachusetts. Jessy strongly believes in the importance of education and choice when it comes to birthing. All visits happen in your own home. She provides a safe and inclusive environment for BIPOC, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and anyone else who is looking for the support in birthing in whatever way feels comfortable for them.
Dina Fraize (CPM)
Dina places a strong emphasis on education, nutrition, and evidence-based informed consent in regards to diagnostic testing and procedures. She believes, like the other providers on this list, that birth is normal and beautiful process, but she also holds several clinical certificates in addition to her CPM certificate, showing her dedication to making sure that your delivery is safe. A few of these extra qualifications include advanced neonatal resuscitation (NRP) training through the American Academy of Pediatrics and Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics through the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Dina takes a holistic approach to care of her pregnant clients, including psychological, social, and even spiritual care. All her visits, either at home or in her office (your choice!) are 45-60 minutes so that you can build a relationship of trust well before you have your home birth. Her goal is to create a safe birthing experience that limits birth trauma, birth injury, and Caesarean section, while also encouraging mothers to feel connected, grounded, and confident.
Worcester, Fitchburg, and Dudley, MA
Rachel Blessington (RN/ BSN, CPM, LMT), Maria Caudle (DEM), Sarah McRell (CNM)
Embrace Midwifery is unique in that two of its three midwives actually hold nursing degrees and one of them holds a CNM (certified nurse midwife) license, which is relatively rare for home birth providers in Massachusetts. As a result, Embrace Midwifery has some clinical flexibility that CPMs or DEMs don’t always have, such as the ability to prescribe medications. The nurses provide comprehensive care throughout the entirety of the childbearing year, while also providing holistic gynecological care (including wellness care) for individuals of all gender identities.
Home birth options with Embrace Midwifery include waterbirth (with a pool the practice can provide). The midwives at Embrace Midwifery, unlike most on this list, can also provide nitrous oxide as an analgesic during labor (for an additional cost).
Worcester County, MA
Erika Beecher (CPM)
Erika’s services include local and international midwifery services, doula support, postpartum care, a heated birth tub (free of charge to her midwifery clients, available for rent for other families), nutritional consultation, lactation support and baby care.
Nancy Wainer (CPM)
Nancy is a master at her craft. She has attended over 2500 births and is a well-respected educator, author, and speaker in the birthing community (fun fact: she coined the term VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean, which is now an internationally used term). Birth Day acts as an apprenticeship for aspiring midwives, meaning that there are often apprentices on the home birth team (as a client, how much interaction you have students is your choice, although it seems that clients adore them). Birth Day Midwifery provides quite a few services including, but not limited to, home births, childbirth classes/workshops, prenatal and postpartum care, waterbirth, and breastfeeding counseling.
Beth Anne Moonstone (CPM, LM)
Beth Anne emphasizes evidence-based care and takes a holistic approach to her work. In addition to her home birth services, she specializes in pre- and postnatal fitness and nutrition. She provides a comprehensive, in-depth education to her clients “so that they can make informed decisions about their care.” Amherst Home Birth affirms LGBTQIA+ parents and non-traditional families.
Your choice of home birth provider in Massachusetts is an extremely important decision. While some aspects of home birth can be intimidating, your provider should be able to respond to your worries and questions honestly and with confidence. It is normal to be nervous in anticipation of childbirth! Choosing the right provider (whether that be one that performs home birth services or works in the hospital) is the first step to taking ownership of your birth experience.
You might also be interested in these related posts:
If you are sure that you’d like to work with a midwife but not as sure yet if you’re comfortable with a home birth, you might be interested in my posts on the midwives at All Female Associates (AFA) and The Midwives at Mount Auburn.
Lastly, if you happen to be looking for a maternity or newborn photographer in addition to your search for a prenatal provider, please check out some of my work here (maternity) or here (newborn). I’d love the opportunity to serve you!
Best wishes on your birth!
If you’re a midwife that attends home births in Massachusetts and want to be added to this list, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.