It's the middle of the night and Tanell Donnell is having a baby. There's no doctor, there's no nurse. Only a midwife and Donnell's family. It's a picture of a growing trend in Alaska.
"People want to have a more homelikd kind of birth," Alaska's Division Public of Health Pre Natal Consultant. "The interesting thing is how the statistics really show how consumers continue to drive what happens around birth."
From 2007 to 2011, the state of Alaska has seen a consistent rise in out-of-hospital births. Midwives say there's a push to have a more controlled personal environment.
"It's just a hole different philosophy than a hospital or a doctor," midwife Kinsey Ward said. "I really get to know my patients through the course of their care we sit down and create a birth plan. My job is to facilitate what they really want their birth to look like."
Donnell wanted dim lighting, 80's rock music and her family by her side. This wasn't her first time in labor but she says her experience Saturday morning was something a hospital never could have provided.
"I felt like I didn't have control of my birth plan like it was up to other people to decide what happened," Donnell said. "It was that I felt like I'm healthy and my babies are healthy. There's no reason for me to be in a hospital. It's not a sickness. It's a natural way of life. And it's something that's beautiful."
Midwives are primarily used for low risk mothers, those with minimal health problems that create potential risks during labor. Dr. Glen Elord, OB-GYN, says a hospital is more fit to manage high risk mothers but there's no question who's in control.
"There are times when as a physician I need to intervene and I need to step in and do things in the best interest of the mom and the baby but I would say by and large the mom should be in control of what happens with her care," Elrod said.
And that's exactly what happened Saturday morning. Donnell was totally in control with the help of a midwife who calmed and coached her through the final hour of pregnancy.
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