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How to Choose Your Midwife
Choosing a midwife for your natural birth is a daunting task (or it can be!). You are partnering with someone who will be with you every step of the way through your pregnancy, labor, delivery and post-partum period. You want to make sure that you can find someone that agrees with your birth plan and how you want your birth experience to play out.
I have benefited from having two incredible midwifes for each of my pregnancies. I loved both of them and the outcome of each labor and delivery. I was lucky to find two women who viewed pregnancy and labor like I did. I also appreciated their preference for treating pregnancy discomforts naturally. Most importantly, I found comfort in their knowledge of natural labor and how to help me achieve the natural labors I desired.
Here is a list of my questions to ask when choosing your midwife
1. What is their experience?
How long have they been practicing? How many labors have they attended? What are their credentials?
2. How do they view interventions?
Do they routinely break women’s water? Do they encourage inductions (even natural)?
3. How do they feel about due dates?
Will they let you go 2 weeks past your due date? Will they view it more like a due range instead?
4. Do they have a heart of a teacher?
They obviously know more about natural labor than you, are they able to teach you techniques that will help you in your labor? Are you willing to listen to them?
5. Do you like them?
You are going to be spending a lot of time with this person, do you genially enjoy them and their personality? Do they annoy you? Do you respect their opinion? Sometimes in labor, a woman direct outside guidance and you need to be willing to listen to your midwife.
6. What conditions will they transport?
When will they make the call to transport? What steps will they follow in a transport? Transport rates are usually very small in the case of home births, but they do happen. You need to know under what conditions do they transport and what is the procedure.
7. What is the scope of their post-partum care?
I had one midwife treat me and my new baby up to 6 weeks after delivery. With my second delivery, my midwife treated just me for only 2 weeks following. I could have called her if I needed anything, but as far as scheduled appointments it was only 2 weeks after. The baby went straight to the pediatrician’s care 3 days after birth.
8. Do they have any references?
Can they give you some past client names that you can call and ask them personally how their care went and if they were pleased. I find that hearing from other women’s experiences helps me understand how my midwife performs during labor.
9. How much do they value prenatal nutrition?
This is something that is very important to me, and I want to partner with someone who values what I value. I want to use someone who can help support my nutritional goals in pregnancy, like recommending a pregnancy tea to drink or a whole food vitamin.
10. Will they respect my birth plan?
Do you have specific request for your birth? Delayed cord cutting? Skipping the eye ointment or Vitamin K shot? Do they do water births? Before choosing your midwife, you need to think about your birth and what you want it to look like on a general note. I knew that I was probably going to be dealing with gestational diabetes and needed to find someone who would support me in controlling it naturally. I also wanted to avoid vaccinations during pregnancy and immediately after birth. I needed to find someone who would support my decisions.
11. What is their relationship with the other practitioners in the area?
Most midwives will need to work under the back-up of a doctor. If this is the case for your state, you need to know if your midwife has a good working relationship with a back-up doctor. Also, does your midwife have a network of other natural medicine practitioners that they work with? I was referred to a chiropractor at 39 weeks to help get Annaleigh in better birthing position after weeks of false labor. I went into labor 12 hours after getting adjusted. I believe that without his help, I would have had a much harder labor instead of the easy, quick labor I did have with her.
12. How much do they cost?
Most of the time insurance companies do not pay for midwife services. We were lucky that with Aidalyn,our insurance did cover her birth completely – Not so much with Annaleigh. Thankfully, midwives charge way less than a doctor. If you have a home birth, you save even more money without all the additional hospital charges. What does your midwife charge? Do they let you pay on a payment plan? Most are willing to work with their clients and help them pay on a schedule that works.
I hope these questions help when you are choosing your midwife and make the process easier for you and you family to choose the midwife that fits perfectly with your birth plan.