Call the midwives: Amid pandemic, more pregnant women consider home delivery

Updated: Apr. 21, 2020 at 5:32 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The pandemic is causing some pregnant women in Hawaii to reconsider their hospital delivery plans.

More expectant mothers are now looking into home births, but midwives want to make sure that it's a good fit for everyone involved.

Vanessa Hunt-Jansen has served as a midwife for 18 years. These days, she’s fielding a lot more phone calls from pregnant women with plenty of questions.

“I’m getting calls at least every other day or so at least inquiring or wanting to know more about home birth, having maybe heard about it before, but now it’s becoming more pressing for them to learn more,” said Hunt-Jansen, the owner of Little Light Midwifery.

Midwives said some soon-to-be moms want to avoid any potential exposure at a hospital.

Another factor is new visitor restrictions, which would only allow them to have one support person for the delivery.

“We have some people reaching out that have a due date in like two weeks that are thinking of switching to home birth,” said Lea Minton, board president of the Midwives Alliance of Hawaii. “We really don’t recommend doing home birth out of fear.”

On average, less than 2% of babies in Hawaii are delivered at home.

“A lot of them are still exploring. Not too many that are just ready to impulsively just change, but they’re really exploring it, researching it and looking into something different,” said Hunt-Jansen.

Currently, there are no regulations for midwives in Hawaii. They’re preparing for new licensing requirements under a law passed last year, but the original timeline for implementation may be delayed due to the pandemic.

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