Jocelyn Brown, LM
is a Los Angeles-based home birth midwife. you can contact her for availability and by email:
Midwives are specialists in unmedicated, vaginal birth and low-risk perinatal care. We view pregnancy and birth as normal, physiological events, and believe that women and midwives are partners in care. To this end, we provide evidence-based care and informed choice about benefits and risks of all your options.
During pregnancy, we provide:
In each prenatal visit we cover:
At your birth we provide:
During the postpartum we provide:
Each postpartum visit includes:
Jocelyn has been attending births, in one role or another, since 2006. Starting as a prenatal yoga teacher-turned-doula in NYC, moving on to midwifery school in Portland, OR in 2008, with a high-volume clinical training from 2009-2011. She practiced for several years as a primary midwife in Portland, OR both in-home and at high-volume birth centers such as Andaluz and Alma Birth Centers, breaking it up with a four-month midwifery attendance in Morne Rouge, Haiti. In 2015 she moved to Los Angeles, California to practice as a primary midwife at GraceFull Birthing for three years and is now contentedly working in private practice. Jocelyn does a lot of yoga and likes to read and walk her dog.
The human body is incredibly cool and brilliant and will find balance wherever it can. Our hearts know how to beat and our kidneys know how to filter our blood. Your body knows how to grow and give birth to a baby. On the other hand, sometimes any physiological system may need attention and assistance, occasionally even surgical intervention. Pregnancy and birth can have similar needs. Midwives provide preventative and supportive care in order to facilitate a normal, healthy, childbearing experience, while keeping a keen eye out for complications.
The ultimate vision? What if we eliminate the polarity between in-hospital birth and out-of-hospital birth? Let’s streamline maternal-fetal health so that birthing individuals an move freely between the two realms, get the best possible care and receive non-judgmental support from all care providers.
If you feel that pregnancy and birth are generally normal life events, and want to make informed decisions regarding your and your baby’s care, a midwife may be the way to go. During pregnancy, midwives are able to spend more time with clients than OBs are, and thus are able to offer more education and choice to their clients. Midwives have lower rates of birth interventions such as epidurals, vacuum extractors, and Cesarean birth. Though both midwives and OBs are focused on the goal of a healthy mother and baby, midwives understand that the process of birth is meaningful, too. After your birth, midwives offer extensive support and care for both mothers and babies. Frequent visits during the postpartum increase breastfeeding rates and reduce rates of postpartum mood disorders.
A doula is in the unique position of being able to focus solely on your emotional needs and physical comfort during labor, and she will stay with you throughout your birth, when your midwife or OB may come and go. A doula is also able to simplify medical language in order to help you to make decisions for your care. The presence of a doula can lower your chances of having an intervention (if desired) and increase your happiness with your birth experience.
Midwives and doulas value the birth partner’s experience, too. We want to find out how each partner visualizes his or her own involvement in pregnancy and birth, and we respect the wide range of needs that come up. One recent study of fathers involved in pregnancy and birth showed that continuous professional support during labor not only increased satisfaction with the father’s experience, but made fathers more likely to take an active role in labor support, and to enjoy and feel empowered by their role.
A woman who is higher risk will probably probably plan a hospital birth. Just a few examples of situations that may be safer attended in the hospital are a mother on insulin therapy, who has very high blood pressure, or monoamniotic twins. A low-risk mother might choose a hospital birth because of the immediate availability of epidural or narcotics for pain relief.
Imagine not having to travel anywhere to give birth! Imagine your midwives tucking you and your baby into your own bed, rather than discharging from the birth center or hospital and traveling home. Home is a place where many women are able to feel the most uninhibited and at ease. This sense of security can often facilitate a more efficient labor and make coping with discomfort easier. Privacy, fewer time restrictions, and broader choices are added benefits.
Midwives help women use natural pain coping techniques that range from warm water to verbal guidance to position changes, and more. Epidurals and narcotics are not available at home. When you give birth at home, your discomfort will be validated and normalized, which may help you to relax and integrate your experience. If you decide you’d like medication, that’s ok, too, but those need to be administered in the hospital, as they carry risks.
It’s really not. Your midwives use soft, protective underpads on any surface you’ll be resting on during labor and birth. A few inexpensive and non-toxic cleaning supplies are an essential part of the home birth kit, and midwives use them for quick spot-cleaning. Water birth is particularly tidy, as any mess is contained in the tub. After the birth, while your midwives are monitoring you and your baby, we’re also restoring your home environment to a condition the same or better than when we arrived. One of the reasons we love home birth so much is that you and your baby will only be exposed to your own germs, rather than in a hospital or birth center, where others have given birth before you.
Freestanding birth centers are home-like facilities where birth is facilitated much like a home birth. Smartly-designed birth rooms contain birthing tubs, large beds, and a private bathroom. You won’t have access to epidural or narcotic anaesthesia at the birth center, but you may have access to nitrous oxide, which has been used safely by laboring women in Europe for years.
Your home birth will be attended by a licensed midwife and a qualified birth assistant. If you wish to have a doula (which is encouraged!), your midwife can give you recommendations.
Your midwives are happy to help you give birth in any position that is working for you and your baby, either in the water or “on land.” We like to say that water birth is fluid (pun intended). Women tend to get in and out of the tub a few times throughout labor, and your midwives will refresh and rewarm the water when you’re not using it.
For labor, water immersion offers comfort, relaxation, pain relief, freedom of movement, and increased circulation for laboring women. This may result in both mothers and babies coping with labor better.
Water is just one tool available for labor and birth, and not all women find it effective. But in general, our clients express a great deal of gratitude to the birth tub.
Occasionally, mothers and babies give us signs before, during, or after labor that they need the tools a hospital can provide. The option of a smooth transport to the hospital is part of what makes home birth safe.
Your midwife assesses your and your baby’s wellbeing throughout labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum. If your birth strays out of the range of normal, your midwives will inform you and talk about your options. In the event that hospital transport is required, your midwives will accompany you to the hospital for an efficient and well-supported transfer of care to the hospital providers. They will take over your and your baby’s care until you are able to leave the hospital to return to midwifery care.
The majority transfers of care are not emergencies, and the goal is to transport a woman safely and efficiently before an emergency occurs. Women who have transported to the hospital for their births will usually continue to see their midwife for postpartum care. In the rare event of an emergency at home, midwives carry and are trained to use several anti-hemorrhagic medications (to stop bleeding), IV fluids, and resuscitation equipment. We are trained to resolve shoulder dystocia and other more common birth complications.
Cooperation and rapport with hospital care providers are the best way to provide mothers and babies with excellent care and ensure the future safety and longevity of all birthing options. Fortunately, more area hospitals feel the same and are welcoming incoming transports, respecting clients’ choices, and honoring the midwives’ role in client care.
During pregnancy, you will be encouraged to look into several hospitals near your home, who accept your insurance, and who have an NICU. It’s great to tour and pre-register yourself at your chosen “transport hospital” so that should the need arise to go during labor, you’ll be familiar with the environment and the staff will have some information about you.
VBAC stands for “vaginal birth after Cesarean.” We welcome and support women who are considering birthing out-of-hospital with their subsequent baby after a Cesarean, and we believe that out-of-hospital VBACs can be a safe and sensible option. There are a lot of medical factors, emotions, and a gut knowing that go into planning a VBAC, and we’d love to get together to discuss whether a VBAC in-home is right for you.
The good news? Several private insurance plans cover birth with a midwife. Although the coverage is usually out-of-network, if you do the math and understand your percentages, you might find that your out-of-pocket cost for home birth will not be much different than a hospital birth.
Some insurance companies don’t cover out-of-hospital birth, even though midwives have comparable (and in may cases, better) statistics and cost significantly less than a vaginal birth in-hospital.
Please contact Jocelyn directly for prices and basic insurance questions. Generally care is paid for out-of-pocket in installments throughout care, and is billed to insurance after your baby is born by a third-party billing service. Your midwifery fee covers all prenatal, birth and postpartum/newborn care for up to eight weeks after birth. Laboratory fees and visits to other care providers are not included in your midwifery fee. For example, your midwife may draw your blood for your prenatal panel, a service which is included in your global fee. However, the lab which processes your blood will bill your insurance company, or you, directly.