In Westchester, an Uptick in Midwife Demand

Westchester midwife Anne Margolis talks homebirths, and why local mothers opt for them.

In the world of childbirth, Anne Margolis is a maven.

Not just the delivery aspect—though the OB nurse, midwife and mother of four is adept—but also in preparing for the birth in the weeks before.

Margolis, who runs Home Sweet Homebirth in Rockland County and also works alongside Full Circle Family Care in White Plains, believes childbirth is a months-long process.

"I've always dreamt of a holistic center for women, related to homebirth," she said. Margolis says a slate of services, from prenatal yoga to acupuncture, can be cardinal parts of the pregnancy process.

Margolis' office at 1214 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains is plastered with stickers that read "Breastfed is Bestfed," and "Born Safely. Born Simply. Born at Home." Inside, she sounds off on how a growing number of soon-to-be mothers in the area are eyeing home births—which has Margolis in the process of hiring two new midwives.

"There are no homebirth midwives in Westchester—that's a problem," she said, noting White Plains or Putnam women often have to cross the Tappan Zee, or scope out New York City.

"[And] many of the families that want to have a homebirth aren't your typical hippies—these are women making an informed decision," she added. "They are taking responsibility for their health."

The process of labor at home is vastly different than the process of a hospital birth, Margolis said. "We have the philosophy that birth is normal until proven otherwise," she explained, noting some patients come to her for their second and third children, on the heels of a sour hospital experience.

Women are encouraged to have whomever they want at their side—best friends, mothers, siblings or other children. Margolis mostly serves as a guide. (But "safety is our priority," she noted.)

"Women can give birth like they breathe... it's a very instinctual process," she added.

An OB nurse since 1985, Margolis graduated midwifery school in 1995, performing her first homebirth about two years later. As a hospital midwife she was part of a team delivering about 40 children a month—an exponentially higher number than she does now.

"[Presently] it's very intimate—there's a lot of time we spend with each family," she said. Margolis will meet with expecting mothers for hours-long sessions leading up to the birth. And when labor begins, she can be at the home for hours, she said.

It's a level of care she intends to embed in her coming midwives, who actively sought her out..

"Someone has to have a lot of experience, and the same philosophy of care," Margolis said.

Carol Silverman March 28, 2013 at 04:15 PM
After 2 local hospital births, I 'discovered' the possibility and availability of a homebirth. It was one of those 'of course, of course' moments: no drugs, no episiotomy, no unnecessary obstetrical intervention, no diseases to be exposed to in the hospital setting. On December 7, 1980, I gave birth to my 3rd child, at home in Scarsdale. It was, by far, the best for me and my family!


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