Prior to the 20thcentury, most babies in the U.S. were born at home. Their births were usually documented in the family bible and church records. It wasn’t until after the second World War, that government-issued birth certificates became a necessary standard. The first statewide Kentucky birth certificate was issued in 1852. But this official document wasn’t a requirement until 1911. Today, the issuance of these certificates is common practice when a child is born in a Kentucky hospital. But home births require additional steps.
Choosing Home Birth
By the 1930’s the previously female-dominated field of childbirth was largely surrendered to male doctors. Laboring moms were encouraged to deliver in hospitals. And available anesthesia was a big draw. But by the 1970’s, there was a resurgence of interest in home births. Women sought to regain power over their bodies and their birthing experiences.
Today, many birthing mothers are choosing a more natural approach and skipping the clinical hospital atmosphere. For some families, a birthing center fits the bill. But for others, home births are preferable. These births are again, typically overseen by midwives.
Kentucky’s Proud Midwifery History
Kentucky boasts a long history with midwifery. In 1939, the Frontier Nursing Service launched the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery. It offered women the opportunity to train in an art that was previously only available in Great Britain. Today, the school — now called Frontier Nursing University — is nationally ranked number one in nurse-midwifery graduate schools.
Documenting a Home Birth in Kentucky
For Kentucky moms who choose to labor and deliver at home, documentation of the birth is a bit more involved than hospital births. Yet, it’s still a fairly simple process. You’ll need to obtain a facility worksheet from your midwife or the Vital Statistics Registrar in your county. You also need a mother’s worksheet to request a social security number. These forms are not available online.
You need to back up the information you provide in your mother’s worksheet with documentation to prove you had a pregnancy that resulted in a live birth in Kentucky. Some examples include the following:
- Prenatal records
- Photographs or video
- Medical professional home visit statement of observation
- Kentucky state-issued identification
- Utility bill
- Rental agreement
You may need to meet with someone at your local Vital Statistics Registrar to submit your paperwork. It’s best to contact the office far ahead of your due date. Ask them about the specific process required to obtain a Kentucky birth certificate for a home birth and what evidentiary documents you need.
You can request a certified copy of a Kentucky birth certificate if it was registered with a state agency after 2010. You’ll need to be a qualifying person to request the certificate. In Kentucky, you can only obtain your own birth certificate or that of an immediate family member. In other states, check with your local registrar to see who’s eligible.