News / Health

Los Angeles Midwives Promote Home Births

Promoting Home Births in Families of Colori
X
Deyane Moses
March 07, 2014 12:20 AM
Home births in the United States are increasing, although they still account for only one percent of overall deliveries. In Los Angeles, Deyane Moses looks at the rising interest in giving birth at home with the help of midwives, and the efforts of some midwives to reach out to minority women
Deyane Moses
Home births in the United States are increasing, although they still account for only one percent of overall deliveries. Los Angeles is one place where there is a rising interest in giving birth at home with the help of midwives.  Some of those midwives are making an effort to reach out to minority women.

In 2012, Jasmine Lavender delivered her second child in a bathtub in south Los Angeles. 

“It was an amazing experience. Very empowering. You know I encourage other moms to have a vaginal birth. It was life changing to be honest,” she said.

She chose to give birth in an informal setting because she feels the hospital performed an unnecessary and rushed surgical procedure -- a Caesarean-section -- when she delivered her first child. 

“I was on a time clock and my time was out,” she said.

The tub where Jasmine gave birth is located at The Community Birth Center. The women who work here specialize in maternity care.

But founder Racha Lawler said they also offer some general health services.

“It’s seeing ourselves really truly as a clinician. Where, you know, as a midwife you can draw people’s blood and test people’s blood and test people for STDs. You can, you know, teach women about how their bodies work in regards to their ovulation and fertility," she said. "So why not make sure everyone in the community knows that?”

Lawler, a licensed midwife, also goes to the patient's home to help her give birth. And after the birth, she provide services to the mother and her newborn.

Midwife apprentice Tanya Smith-Johnson said the center believes in keeping the process as natural as possible.

“We do things to keep women from tearing. You know, Rub oil as opposed to, 'Ok You tore? We’re just going to suture you up. We’re going to cut you,' that kind of thing.  We do all the things to make it as few interventions as possible,” she said.

When the center first opened, there were about 300 licensed midwives in the state of California.  Most of them were white. But Lawler hopes to double the number of midwives of color through advocacy and free mentorship for apprentices like Tanya Smith-Johnson.

“The stats show women of color, we’re the ones who need maternity care. Our babies die at rates three or four times that of white women. And one of the solutions to that is having more women of color tend to women like themselves,” Smith-Johnson said.

With generous donations and flexible client rates, the grassroots birth center provides services to people who could otherwise not afford them.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs