Midwife goes to jail after stillborn birth

Filed under: Your Pregnancy, Health & Safety: Babies

A Wisconsin midwife has been sentenced to six months of jail plus probation due to a baby being born stillborn in a home birth.

According to this article, Helen Dentice, who is 52, started working with a couple one month before the delivery of their fourth child. The mom wanted to have a home birth after three c-sections. Prosecutors said that she was paid $2,000 in advance and told them that if anything "went amiss during the procedure, she wouldn't stick around to answer questions and that they were to withhold her true identity."

Several families that worked with Dentice said that she never asked for money up front, with some calling her "knowledgeable and safe."

Dentice is not a licensed midwife. She pleaded guilty to one count of delivery of a controlled substance (injecting a drug to prevent hemorrhaging into the mother's thigh) and one count of practicing medicine or surgery without a license.

As a mom with a limited knowledge of births, I personally see a few things wrong with this scenario. For example, I know that my local birthing center does not do VBACs, or vaginal birth after cesarean, due to the increased risk for complications. While I can appreciate a woman wanting to go through with one, there are increased risks.

The father of the baby referred to Dentrce as "frantic" during the long birthing process. It was his responsibility as a father and husband to call 911 if he didn't feel the midwife was doing her job correctly.

Third, I have issues with the judge in this case saying "she hoped pregnant women weigh all options before deciding on delivering at home." To me, it sounds negative towards home births, which can be a positive thing if done with someone who knows what she is doing and will call 911 if needed.

What is your take? Is anyone at fault here or was this a risk that parents must face when considering giving birth at home?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.