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'A magical experience': Study shows more expectant mothers opting out of hospital births to have babies at home

A recent analysis by an insurance company called QuoteWizard shows home births are increasing around the country, with Arizona ranking high on the list.

ARIZONA, USA — Research shows that over the course of the pandemic, mothers have been increasingly opting out of giving birth in hospitals and deciding to deliver their children in the comfort of their own homes.

Team 12’s Trisha Hendricks spoke with a new mom who decided to have a home birth. She welcomed her baby girl into the world with the assistance of Pamela Qualls, a certified midwife.

Qualls and her team have reported seeing home births skyrocket since 2019.

“The experience was just amazing,” said mom of three, Laura Hernandez.

Hernandez is over the moon, soaking in every second with her precious new baby, 6-day-old Amicia.

“It came really fast when we had her,” she said.

Hernandez delivered Amicia on Jan. 16 in her Buckeye home with her husband and kids by her side.

“A magical experience,” she said.

Homebirth is something Hernandez had always wanted, but concerns surrounding COVID pushed her to make the ultimate decision.

“You aren’t exposed to anything at the hospital,” she said. “It’s just so comforting…I had my kids at my birth, I had my dogs there with me.”

Turns out, Hernandez is one of many women making the decision to have a homebirth. A recent analysis by an insurance company called QuoteWizard shows home births are increasing around the country.

QuoteWizard's report found that Arizona has the 8th largest increase of women deciding to give birth at home, with a 36% increase.

“We like to say we catch the babies… we help moms and dads catch their babies,” said Qualls, who has been a midwife for nearly 23 years.

“I’ve attended four births in the last four days… and I’m one tired woman,” she said. “I also own a birth center and we have seen at least double the numbers.”

Qualls said that her practice experienced a huge jump in demand at the beginning of the pandemic.

“I was actually having to turn women away,” she said.

Qualls said that more people are learning how cost-effective homebirths are.

“It could be thousands and thousands less,” she said.

And with the right assistance, safe.

“We monitor baby’s heartbeat, we monitor the contractions, we monitor mom’s vitals,” she said.

But, not every mom is eligible. Conditions like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure should be handled at hospitals, according to Qualls.

But for those who are eligible, she expects the home birth trend to continue upward.

“It’s wonderful,” she added.

So, moms like Hernandez can have their own magical experience.

“It’s really great that this kind of lead to more women looking into this option because it’s just as safe and it’s so beautiful,” Hernandez said.

So far, Qualls and her team at the birth center combined with home births have helped deliver 200 babies since the start of the pandemic.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, home births can be less expensive than giving birth in a hospital, however, there can be more out-of-pocket costs due to home birth, since many insurance companies don’t cover home birth in their policies.

Helpful links:

More information on Pamela's birth center and home births in Arizona

QuoteWizard analysis 

The American Pregnancy Association's research 

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