For the first time in more than 40 years, Alabama is now providing licenses for certified midwives. That means a woman in labor no longer has to be whisked to the hospital to give birth. The state approved licensure in 2017, providing women with a new option for their healthcare.
Layla Brown's six children were all born at their home under the care of a midwife. Layla, a practicing midwife herself, has provided the service for 15 years.
She is also one of Alabama's first certified licensed midwives.
"I do prenatals here in my home," says Brown. "My kids will be here when you come to prenatals; your kids can be here for your prenatals."
The experience also allows a fully natural childbirth—no inducing, no epidurals.
"[You're] able to let your body be able to go into labor in the comfort of your own home."
Unlike hospitals, where there is a strict limit on how many people can be in the delivery room, at-home births allow mom to have a larger team of supporters by her side during labor.
"I can have my mom here, my sisters her," says Brown. "I’m not limited to who can be in the room."
Destyni Sims, due with her fourth child, will deliver any day now.
"I would like to have a water birth."
She is relieved to finally have the option in Alabama.
"Your home is your sanctuary," says Sims. "It’s a very comfortable, very peaceful place."
Midwives undergo extensive training before being licensed or certified, including emergency procedures.
Many parents have been paying out of pocket for midwifery services. In some cases, insurance will cover. Cigna, for example, has already signed on.
Sims calls it a good, safe option for child birth and pregnancy care.
"I love that we’re able to start doing this at home with midwives. It’s opened up the doors to start letting people know it’s an option."