Safe at Home Part 2: Going it Alone

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More women are choosing home birth, but in states where home birth midwives operate illegally, some women opt for an unassisted birth at home.

By Christine Herman/For — When Cheryl Gioja went into labor, her husband Joshua got down on his knees to “catch the baby” in the living room of their Illinois home. What he did was not a crime. But if a midwife had been there, she would have been breaking the law.

Roughly 800 babies in Illinois are born at home each year. Without access to licensed providers, families resort to hiring “underground” midwives, who may or may not have adequate training. Or, like Cheryl and Joshua, they simply go it alone.

This story was part of Christine Herman’s journalism master’s project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2014. 

Visit to see more of Herman’s project. 

Listen to the second in a 3 part series

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