Are midwife attended home births legal in Georgia? 

Many people wonder if home birth is legal in Georgia. The real question they are asking is whether there are practitioners (midwives/Physicians) who are licensed to practice at home. The answer is yes! Nurse-Midwives and Obstetricians are licensed to practice in homes, birth centers, clinics or hospitals. In Georgia, the nursing boards governs all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) which includes Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs). The laws of Georgia recognize the national organization American College of Nurse Midwives to outline the specifics of practice for CNMs which includes protocols and guidelines for home birth. 

Georgia law states, “The certified nurse-midwife (CNM) provides independent management of women's health care, focusing particularly on pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, care of the newborn, and the family planning and gynecological needs of women. The certified nurse-midwife practices within a health care system that provides for consultation, collaborative management, or referral as indicated by the health status of the client. The certified nurse-midwife must practice in accordance with the Board-approved American College of Nurse-Midwives' current Standards for the Practice.”

Click Here for law regarding midwifery practice in the state of Georgia

Why choose a home birth?

Evidence from home birth research has shown and demonstrated that home birth outcomes for selected women whose births are attended by qualified providers are equal to or better than those outcomes of similar women that birth in a hospital setting. Studies addressing maternal preference, cost-effectiveness, and appropriate use of technology have been the driving forces for public health initiatives to maintain planned home birth as an option for some women. Until the 1940s, more than half of all births occurred at home. It was assumed that maternal and infant mortality rates would improve by moving births to hospitals. By the 1970s, 99% of all births occurred in a hospital. The improvements on maternal and neonatal incomes that subsequently occurred in the 20th century are widely believed to be a result of increased hospitalization. In reality, the growing understanding of the transmission of pathogens, and the use and development of antibiotics and oxytocin as well as improvements in prenatal care and nutrition has had more of an impact on neonatal and maternal mortality than the actual place of birth. Between 1981 and 1994; 558,691 births were analyzed with 2888 of those births booked at home. It was found that perinatal mortality in the planned home birth group was less than half the average for all births in that 14 year span, even when all the cases referred to a hospital were included. (ACNM Home Birth Practice Handbook, 2004)

What is a midwife and how is she different than an OB-GYN?

Most midwives in the United States are health care providers who offer services to women of all ages and stages of life. With their advanced education and their focus on research and partnering with women, they are among the most modern, forward-thinking health care professionals in the United States today...for further information click here

An Obstetrician is a medical doctor that has specialized in the medical management of the female reproductive tract during pregnancy, childbirth,  and postnatal periods. Most Obstetricians are also Gynecologist, meaning they perform both specialties. A Gynecologist is a surgeon and medical doctor who has specialized in "the science of women" or disorders of the female reproductive system such as ovarian or cervical cancer, infertility, incontinence, etc. During childbirth, an OB/GYN may be expected to monitor the progress of labor by evaluating nurse charts,  perform vaginal exams to check dilation, assess the tracing produced by a fetal monitoring device, accelerate the progress of labor through the use of artificial oxytocin, augment labor by artificial rupture of membranes; provide pain relief with the use of opiates, or epidural anesthesia; perform surgically assisted births with forceps, vacuum,  or cesarean section.