Once you are pregnant and looking for a healthcare provider, you might Google OB/GYN or Midwife Near Me. After all, one place is as good as the other. Right? You couldn’t be more wrong.
What is NEAR?
When looking for a Midwife near you, consider what near means. The OB/GYN or Midwife Near Me may not be even close to what you want for yourself and family during pregnancy and birth. They can be physically near you but philosophically a million miles away.
How far are you willing to drive to:
- Avoid a surgical birth?
- Avoid ANOTHER surgical delivery?
- Labor in a pool of water? Give birth in a pool of water?
- Be in a baby-friendly institution?
- Promote lifelong health for your child?
- Have a great Midwife or OB/GYN at your birth?
Sometimes making a long trip is not nearly as important as being super near to your needs and desires for birth. A good experience where you are sharing the decisions about your care, receiving evidence-based information and able to walk away with your babe in arms a healthier, stronger version of yourself is worth the drive.
But how far is TOO far?
The distance does become an issue at some point. Two hours away is probably a little far especially in places where there is a lot of traffic. We often tell our clients that a two-hour distance will likely work for their first baby but might not for the second since second labors tend to be fast!
If you want a birth that can only happen 2 or more hours from your home, the management of your labor will need to be different. A woman might need to leave for her place of birth even before she is sure she is in labor. A hotel room near the place of birth might be necessary if the labor is super early and if it isn’t labor at all, a trip back home. Some women even move to the place they plan to give birth. For many years women have moved to The Farm Midwifery Center to give birth to their babies with Ina May Gaskin and the other Farm Midwives. At the Farm, they have more choices and autonomy than just about anywhere else in the country. Going to Pennsylvania from New Jersey might allow a woman an out-of-hospital Vaginal Birth after Cesarean and so might be worth a long drive.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Keep in mind that driving in labor, and being very uncomfortable, you might decide you can’t go so far or take a chance that the baby would be born en route. Maybe a better choice is facilitating change in your own area of the state. A woman can petition her facility ahead of time to be allowed to:
- Bring a birth pool with her to the hospital,
- Use intermittent auscultation of the fetal heart instead of continuous fetal monitoring
- Bring a doula to the hospital for advocacy and continuous labor support.
All change has to begin somewhere and when it begins with YOU, there will soon be a fabulous Midwife or OB/GYN near everyone in New Jersey!