Home Births & Water Births

The home setting provides a supportive and safe environment for natural birth, allowing a woman to relax and follow her unique path in the laboring process. When a newborn baby is perceived to be a conscious, cognizant being, the manner in which he/she is born can have far reaching effects. Assisted by capable and experienced midwives, a family has the freedom to create the home birth experience they desire and welcome their new child with love, dignity, and a gentle beginning.

The safety of home birth for low risk women has repeatedly been demonstrated in scientific studies. See our resources page for links.  A key factor that improves safety is the presence of qualified and experienced midwives who are capable of watching for and responding when a low risk situation becomes high risk.

Your A Gentle Beginning birth team arrives to your labor equipped with complete birth kits—including emergency equipment such as oxygen, IV supplies, resuscitation equipment, and emergency medicines. We keep up to date on neonatal resuscitation, just as all birthing unit hospital staff do, of course adding our understanding of the conscious awareness of the newborn.  Our birth team consists of a nurse-midwife, nurse, and midwife apprentice.  Your midwife will attend you first and call in the other members of the team as birth is more imminent.  If a hospital setting is needed for any reason, we have developed relationships with nurse-midwife groups and obstetricians to make the transition from home to hospital as smooth as possible. 

Home birth with highly educated and experienced midwives has the same low rates of complications as hospital births, and in some studies lower.  Some of the advantages of home birth include low use of interventions, relaxing in your own environment, familiarity with your care providers, and the intimacy and freedom to find your own path in birthing your baby.

Water Births with A Gentle Beginning

photo by SOMMESSA

The midwives at A Gentle Beginning have attended water births for over 30 years, when the idea first surfaced in the Portland area in the 1980's. We feel that it is a very useful tool to have available; water is calming, relaxing and allows greater freedom of movement for women in labor. The ability to move as her body dictates allows a woman to follow her body’s innate knowledge of giving birth and creates an environment in which she and her partner are able to open more fully to what is needed.  We have birth tubs and liners available for rent.

Whether a woman remains in the water for birth depends on the actual moment of birth, the woman’s desire, and the discretion of your midwives. We may get a little wet but we’ve learned to carry a dry set of clothes!