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

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora