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When I decided to have my third baby at home, I did so because I felt that a home birth with an experienced midwife would be the safest place for labor and delivery. My first two children were born in a large, Boston teaching hospital, and medical interventions there caused complications for me. My last two children were born at home, on their own time, with no interventions and no complications. You can read more about my home birth experience here.
More women are now discovering the safety and joy of a planned, midwife-assisted home birth. The coronavirus has caused expecting parents to question the safety of a hospital birth, while restrictive hospital policies, such as mask-wearing and visitor limitations, make labor and delivery in a hospital less appealing.
According to Joyce Kimball, a Certified Professional Midwife in Massachusetts, more women are considering a home birth now than they were pre-pandemic.
“My practice has seen an uptick in the interest in home birth and community birth since the spring of 2020,” says Kimball, who runs one of the busiest home birth practices in the state. “Prior to 2020, I would receive 1-2 calls per week from folks interested in non-hospital birth. Now I receive about 4-5 calls per week.”
“Every month I have a full panel of clients and refer away several people a month,” she adds. This trend is occurring in midwifery practices across the country.
Many of the reasons why these pregnant mothers are contemplating a home birth now are the same as they were before COVID hit. They want a more personalized, less institutionalized birth experience. They want more control over the labor and delivery process. They want to be surrounded by a supportive birthing team, including family members, friends, and perhaps their other children, in addition to their midwives.
They don’t want to be separated from their baby at any time. They may pay more in hospital co-pays and deductibles for maternity care than they would for a home birth. They recognize that for most healthy women, birth is a life event—not a medical one.
According to Kimball, COVID has increased the desirability of home birthing. She says that pregnant women may now feel more uneasy during their prenatal care, with the heightened focus on COVID protocols when consulting with their healthcare provider. They may not want to get tested for COVID in the hospital, and have to wear a mask during labor and delivery. They may not like the idea of keeping that mask on during their postpartum hospital stay, creating an artificial barrier to bonding with their baby. They may not want their newborn exposed to hospital germs, including COVID.
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Prior to the pandemic, interest in out-of-hospital births was growing in the US. It is estimated that about 62,000 of the roughly 4 million US births in 2017 occurred at home or in a freestanding birth center, and the number of US out-of-hospital births increased by almost 80% between 2004 and 2017.
This rise in home births may be at least a partial reaction to the country’s dismal hospital birth record. Despite significant spending, the US has some of the highest rates of maternal mortality and morbidity of any industrialized country, especially among women of color. A 2018 USA Today investigative report concluded that “the U.S. is the most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world.”
A planned home birth with an experienced midwife, on the other hand, can be both safe and rewarding. According to a 2021 study published in Frontiers of Sociology about the rise in home births since the start of COVID, laboring women “have been continually achieving safe outcomes in private homes and freestanding birth centers with the assistance of midwives in the United States and abroad…COVID-19 has disrupted the perspective of actual safety because staying at home offers better protection from the pandemic for childbearers than sharing a hospital with disease-stricken patients.”
New hospital COVID policies may also inadvertently drive more women toward home birthing in the months ahead. For instance, FEE’s Jon Miltimore wrote recently about a hospital in upstate New York that announced a “pause” in its labor and delivery services this month due to so many of its nurses and other healthcare workers quitting over COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Some of those expecting mothers may choose to consider a home birth instead, particularly in light of recent efforts to expand home birth access in the state. Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order in 2020 to allow Certified Professional Midwives to practice midwifery in the state to help alleviate the burden on hospitals due to the pandemic, but that order expired in June. Advocates have since tapped the state legislature to support the role of home birth midwives in the state.
Until the recent COVID-related executive order, Certified Professional Midwives were forbidden to attend births in New York, and some longtime home birth midwives have been arrested there for delivering babies. One of the highest profile arrests was that of Elizabeth Catlin, a midwife who has been attending home births in New York for decades, particularly in the state’s rural Mennonite community.
In 2018, she was arrested and charged with 95 felony accounts for being an unlicensed midwife. Catlin is a Certified Professional Midwife, a credential recognized in 30 states but not in New York until the 2020 COVID-related executive order. Last week, Catlin agreed to a plea deal that dropped 94 of the charges against her and left her pleading guilty to one charge of practicing midwifery without a license. She will be sentenced in December.
COVID has disrupted many previously entrenched sectors, from education to healthcare. Frustrated by COVID policies in schools or fearful of virus spread, more families have shifted away from institutionalized learning and toward schooling alternatives, such as homeschooling. Similarly, more expecting parents frustrated by hospital COVID policies or fearful of the virus are turning away from an institutionalized birth toward home birthing and other out-of-hospital birth options.
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Restrictive institutional policies in both education and healthcare are accelerating the growth and popularity of more decentralized choices in these sectors. Continued loosening of occupational licensing requirements, such as those impacting New York’s midwives, along with ongoing deregulation in healthcare and education, will expand choice and opportunity for parents—from where they give birth to how their children learn.
Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019). She is also an adjunct scholar at The Cato Institute and a regular Forbes contributor. Kerry has a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and four children. You can sign up for her weekly newsletter on parenting and education here.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
Too Few Are Telling the Truth
Not long ago, conservative media was not beholden to anyone. Today, most sites are stuck on the Big Tech gravy train.
I’ll keep this short. The rise of Pandemic Panic Theater, massive voter fraud, and other “taboo” topics have neutered a majority of conservative news sites. You’ll notice they are very careful about what topics they tackle. Sure, they’ll attack Critical Race Theory, Antifa, and the Biden-Harris regime, but you won’t see them going after George Soros, Bill Gates, the World Economic Forum, or the Deep State, among others.
The reason is simple. They are beholden to Big Tech, and Big Tech doesn’t allow certain topics to be discussed or they’ll cut you off. Far too many conservative news outlets rely on Google, Facebook, and Twitter for the bulk of their traffic. They depend on big checks from Google ads to keep the sites running. I don’t necessarily hold it against them. We all do what we need to do to survive. I just wish more would do like we have, which is to cut out Big Tech altogether.
We don’t get Google checks. We don’t have Facebook or Twitter buttons on our stories. We don’t have a YouTube Channel (banned), and Instagram profile (never made one), or a TikTok (no thanks, CCO). We’re not perfect, but we’re doing everything we can to not owe anything to anyone… other than our readers. We owe YOU the truth. We owe YOU the facts that others won’t reveal about topics that others won’t tackle. And we owe America, this great land that allows us to take hold of these opportunities.
Like I said, I don’t hold other conservative sites under too much scrutiny over their choices. It’s easy for people to point fingers when we’re not the ones paying their bills or supporting their families. I just wish there were more who would break away. Today, only a handful of other major conservative news outlets have broken away from the Big Tech teat. Of course, we need help.
The best way you can help us grow and continue to bring proper news and opinions to the people is by donating. We appreciate everything, whether a dollar or $10,000. Anything brings us closer to a point of stability when we can hire writers, editors, and support staff to make the America First message louder. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal or Bitcoin as well. Bitcoin: 3A1ELVhGgrwrypwTJhPwnaTVGmuqyQrMB8
Our network is currently comprised of nine sites:
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We are also building partnerships with great conservative sites like The Liberty Daily and The Epoch Times to advance the message as loudly as possible, and we’re always looking for others with which to partner.
Also, we could use contributions of content. If you write or want to start writing and you share our patriotic, conservative, America First ideology, contact us. The contact form on this and all pages on the site goes directly to me.
Some of our content is spread across multiple sites. Other pieces of content are unique. We write most of what we post but we also draw from those willing to allow us to share their quality articles, videos, and podcasts. We collect the best content from fellow conservative sites that give us permission to republish them. We’re not ego-driven; I’d much rather post a properly attributed story written by experts like Dr. Joseph Mercola or Natural News than rewrite it like so many outlets like to do. We’re not here to take credit. We’re here to spread the truth.
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We know we could make a lot more money if we sold out like so many “conservative” publications out there. You won’t find Google ads on our site for a reason. Yes, they’re lucrative, but I don’t like getting paid by minions of Satan (I don’t like Google very much if you couldn’t tell).
Time is short. As the world spirals towards The Great Reset, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report and the other sites in the network going. Our promise is this: We will never sell out America. If that means we’re going to struggle for a while or even indefinitely, so be it. Integrity first. Truth first. America first.
Thank you and God Bless,
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Yes, We Need Your Help
I hate being “that guy” who asks people to donate because I think our conservative news network is so crucial, but here I am…
When I left my cushy corporate job in 2017, I did so knowing that my family would have to make sacrifices. But I couldn’t continue to watch the nation slip into oblivion and was inspired by President Trump’s willingness to fight the good fight even at his own personal expense. What I didn’t realize then is that conservative media would be so heavily attacked, canceled, and defunded that the sacrifices would be extreme.
Many in this nation are struggling right now even though we weren’t struggling just a few years ago. I’m not alone. But I wake up every morning and operate the sites we’ve been able to build because there’s really no other choice. I refuse to be beholden to Big Tech like so many other conservative news outlets, which is why you won’t see Google ads here. With that said, it’s often challenging to pay the bills and it’s even harder to expand so we can get the America First message out to a wider audience.
The economic downturn has forced me to make a plea for help. Between cancel culture, lockdowns, and diminishing ad revenue, we need financial assistance in order to continue to spread the truth. We ask all who have the means, please donate through our new GiveSendGo. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to expand our reach so the truth can get to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
We currently operate:
- NOQ Report
- Conservative Playlist
- Uncanceled News
- Based Underground
- Truth Based Media
- Five other conservative news sites
I would even be willing to entertain investments and partnerships at this stage. I’ve turned them down in the past because editorial purity is extremely important. I’ll turn them down again if anyone wants us to start supporting RINOs or avoid “taboo” topics like voter fraud, vaccines, or transgender supremacy. But I’d talk to fellow America First patriots who want to help any (or all) of our 10 news sites. Hit me up at jdrucker (at) substack (dot) com if you’re interested.
For those who have the means and just want to help keep the mission of spreading a conservative, Christian message to the nation, please consider a generous donation.