Seattle Home Maternity
Let our experience be your guide
We are a practice of Certified Professional Midwives who are licensed in Washington and have been safely delivering babies for over 30 years in the Seattle area. Our years of experience – your pregnancy, your birth.
Schedule a free consultation visit at either our Columbia City or Eastlake locations to learn more about working with us and creating a birth plan that works for YOU.
We accept most insurance
Most home and birth center births are covered by private insurance or DSHS/Medicaid. Please contact us to learn more about your coverage.
A Long and Colorful History
Located in Seattle’s vibrant Columbia City neighborhood, Seattle Home Maternity Service was co-founded in 1980 by midwives Marge Mansfield and Suzy Myers. They began their training together in 1975 as part of a women’s community health center in Seattle.
With physician supervision, their group attended more than 250 births over the following three years. Recognizing the need for formal education and licensure, they co-founded Seattle Midwifery School (SMS) in 1978, and both served at times as active faculty, staff, and board members over the following 35+ years. In 2009, SMS merged with Bastyr University and became the Department of Midwifery, remaining an internationally recognized model for midwifery and doula education.
The key to our success is meeting the needs of our clients and building trusting relationships. Come in for a free and private consultation where you will meet with one of our midwives and get information to help you decide if we are the midwifery practice for you. We will…
- answer your questions about our practice
- describe our services
- assist you in finding the information you need to make an informed choice about your pregnancy and birth care
Over the course of your pregnancy and prenatal appointments, we will make every effort to ensure that you see all of our midwives at least once.
Once you’ve decided to become our client, you’ll come in for a lengthy individual initial visit. We will…
- discuss your health history
- talk about your nutrition
- perform a physical exam (as needed)
- discuss and decide on laboratory tests you might need or want, including ultrasounds
- carefully review any prenatal care records obtained from other providers, if appropriate
1st and 2nd Trimester – Monthly Prenatal Appointments
Monthly prenatal appointments occur every month until the third trimester of pregnancy. You will meet with one of our midwives and we will…
- talk about any concerns you might have
- perform a physical exam
- get to know you and your birth and delivery preferences
- monitor your overall progress
- get to know you and your birth and delivery preferences
3rd Trimester – Biweekly and Weekly Prenatal Appointments
In the third trimester you will have biweekly prenatal appointments, and then, as you approach your due date, weekly prenatal appointments. These appointments will be similar to earlier prenatal appointments, with an increasing emphasis on defining your needs and addressing any concerns.
Birth / Delivery Services
Home or Birth Center – You Choose
You may choose to give birth in your home or in a birth center (our Birth Center in Columbia City or the Center for Birth in Eastlake). In either setting the midwife will evaluate your early labor, spend active labor with you and support you during your birth.
We will evaluate your vital signs and your baby’s well-being regularly, making sure there is normal progression during your labor and birth. We provide suggestions for pain relief, emotional support and encouragement, and attend to your sense of security and safety throughout.
Families may participate as much as you wish and your choice of support people is entirely up to you. Normal newborn care is provided without separation from the parents and we encourage skin-to-skin contact. The monitoring continues after birth to ensure normal recovery and adaptation for all. After delivering at the birth center you may go home as soon as two hours after birth; the typical length of stay is under four hours.
Your midwife, in either setting, will remain with you until you are completely comfortable without her. Should transfer to a hospital be needed, we contact the hospital, accompany you to the hospital and assist in making the plan of care there. We offer support and advocacy during the transition to the hospital, resuming your postpartum care upon discharge.
Part of our mission here at Seattle Home Maternity is providing comprehensive care for our families as they grow. This means we consider your postpartum care and well-being, as important as your prenatal and birth care.
In the first days after the birth of your baby, a midwife will visit you and your new baby at your home to answer your questions and to check on…
- your recovery
- your baby’s feeding and behavior
- your overall adjustment
We continue to care for you for 6 weeks following the birth with clinic appointments at 1-2 weeks, 3-4 weeks and 6 weeks.
“Our original reason for choosing Seattle Home Maternity was merely because it was the only south-end home birth choice we had with our insurance. However, after our experience, I feel the need to proclaim just how amazing and impressive it is. In the months leading up to birth, the care and screening was great, but for right now I would like to focus on Heather Chorley’s care during labor.
Lei’s water broke a full day before labor began, and while the hospital requested we come in for induction, Heather monitored both mother and baby for safety and gave us the information we needed to make the decision to be patient. This paid off, as labor finally began naturally.
Throughout the night, Heather’s demeanor was ideal for helping Lei be as soothed and relaxed as possible, making labor easier and safer. She never surprised Lei with demanding instructions, but instead asked Lei to do the recommended techniques “when she was ready.” Even after the birth, when Lei had some tearing and some bleeding, Heather saw that it was quickly stitched up and solved in our home.
In large part due to the excellent care and advice from Seattle Home Maternity Service, Lei had her ideal home birth, and our daughter is happy and healthy. If you are a person who values natural birth in a traditional environment such as your home, I urge you to seek the care of these spectacular women.” – Joshua, Lei, and Kazune
“I can still hear Heather say to me, “This is how it is done.” She was, of course referring to the age-old practice of pushing a tiny infant into this world. The primal sounds I made in these moments were a reminder that, indeed, this was how all of creation signs. I can also hear Kate say to me, “This is your birth dance.” A dance and language all its own, the midwives at Seattle Home Maternity accompanied us on our journey welcoming our first-born son Miguel Nikos into this world.
At 33 weeks we made the decision to transfer our care. Like many women, we were blessed with an uncomplicated pregnancy, suspicious of the hospital, and seeking the environment of “home”…We decided to make this tremendous shift. When we met Heather we instantly connected. She very poignantly had asked what our reservations were for a hospital birth. After sharing these with her, and visiting the birth center room, we were confident in our decision to have a midwifery experience.
The day our child decided to come was one of magic. It was sunny and daylight. When my partner called Heather that morning, she walked us through a series of scenarios—the baby could come sometime today, or with all the signs of labor, he could come later, as we were only at week 38. Calm, in-tune and insightful, she was available to answer our questions and to assure us of all the possibilities.
We labored at home for most of the early morning, until deciding to go to the center. Once at the center, Kate discovered that I had effaced, and shortly after that, Heather asked me if I felt the desire to push. Push I did with all my love and passion, for it felt so right and perfect. I could be in that primal space and have the supportive hands of the midwives, our doula and spouse guide and encourage me. After 45 minutes of soulful pushing, Miguel arrived, covered in his thick coat of vernex.
Heather and Kate moved so quickly during the labor and delivery, they operated so smoothly, communicating with each other, with me and with my spouse. They were present to the very experience and magic we felt. I could only wish other women such a journey into motherhood.” – One mother’s reflections
“I had given birth twice before with the help of midwives in a hospital setting. This birth was different. On Sakeena’s Birth Day, the two moments that most vividly replays in my mind and heart are:
Half an hour before Sakeena was born, during my last hour of intense labor, Katherine was by my side, comforting me with encouraging words, soothing me with her touch to ease and relax me. She was so synced to my needs, I didn’t have to explain much. On one side was my husband, and on the other, she was there.
Once Katherine helped to deliver Sakeena and took care of my medical needs, she so lovingly, compassionately performed the newborn check, changed Sakeena’s first diaper, dressed her, warmed her carseat, and gently placed her in it for her very first departure. It was almost poetic, one of the sweetest experiences ever. During her exam, Sakeena made a surprisingly loud sound that my husband and I both laughed at, because, well, we were her parents. I can’t forget Katherine’s smile and loving laugh, as if she had been with Sakeena all this time, and grown a love for her just as I did.
There are kinships other than lineage. Friends, neighbors, and classmates can fall into this category. Well, I include midwives. Even if I might never see them again.
At my last postpartum appointment, I was genuinely sad. As we embraced, I walked away with a sinking feeling in my heart, because I knew this was where the road forked, and we would be going our separate ways. I’ve never felt that way about any other medical practitioner before.
In my prenatal care, labor, delivery, as well as postpartum care, Katherine connected with me by listening; in fact, most of the appointment consisted of her listening to what was going on in my life, showing that she genuinely cares. She addressed my concerns and anxieties, reassured me of my fortitude, and proved herself to be medically knowledgeable. If something was outside her scope, she didn’t hesitate to consult. Above all, her compassion with me during one of my most vulnerable moments stands out; it is this compassion that drives her to achieve excellence in the care that she provides.” – Nazihah نزيهة