Many of us are shown that the way to give birth is to simply go to an OB and have 5 minute appointments every few weeks and then show up to the hospital in labor and give birth. Taking control of your birth experience means that you need to know more about your birth provider(s).
Here’s a list of questions you should consider when looking for a home birth or birth center midwife. These questions can also be asked of OBs. Be prepared with the answer you’d like to hear, but be willing to listen to the midwife if her answer differs from the one you originally thought was right for you. Then weigh her answer. If your paradigm needs to shift, be ready to allow it. If the midwife’s answer is still unsatisfactory to you, have the courage to move to another provider.
Experience and Community
-Why did you become a midwife?
-How long have you been practicing midwifery?
-Where did you study?
-What is your training/education/certification?
-Are you licensed?
-Are you certified to train apprentices?
-Are you connected to a natural birth/natural parenting community I could get to know?
-Do you work with doulas? Do you have several you’d refer?
-How many births do you take on per month/year?
-Do you have a back-up? When can I meet him/her?
-Have you had any loss (baby or mother)? Why and what happened?
-May I call a few of your past clients and ask them about their experience?
-Do you have experience and recommendations for prenatal nutrition?
-Do you have ideas of how you’d recommend solving some physical challenges I may come up against? (Sciatica, weight problems, varicose veins)
-Do you do the Gestational Diabetes screening? Do you continue to see clients with Gestational Diabetes, or do you refer them to an OB?
-How do you feel about GBS? What are your treatments?
-If I have suffered previous birth or abuse trauma, do you have training in counselling or do you have resources you can give me to help me heal and prepare for this birth?
-My husband/mother/friend/ is worried about ______. Do you have ideas on how to help ease those concerns?
-What supplements/vitamins do you recommend your clients take?
-If my water breaks before my labor starts, what do you recommend to help labor start and how long do I have before it’s necessary to transfer to the hospital?
-How do you feel about vaginal checks and when do you perform them?
-Are you familiar with other ways of assessing dilation?
-What role do you usually play in labor? Will you act as a doula or do you prefer me to find a dedicated doula?
-How long are you comfortable with letting me labor before transferring me to the hospital?
-What do you do if I go “past due.” What does “past due” mean to you?
-Do you facilitate water birth?
-Can my other children be present during the labor and birth?
-Do you limit the number of people that can be in the room during the birth?
-How often do you check the baby’s heartbeat during labor?
-What birth supplies to you provide and what shall I be expected to obtain?
-How do you feel about optimal cord clamping (delayed cord clamping) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw53X98EvLQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player
-Will you deliver the baby, or will you assist me in birthing him/her/them?
-What type of exams do you perform on the newborn?
-What equipment do you bring with you to a birth? Do you carry Pitocin (for rare post-birth hemorrhaging)?
-What methods of pain management do you recommend?
-Do you clean up the birth entirely?
-Do you deliver breech? All kinds of breech? If not, who do you refer to when discovering a breech presentation?
-Do you have experience with turning babies? What is your method?
-What do you do in the case of a nuchal cord?
-Do you do routine episiotomies? When would you do one?
-What is your hospital transfer rate?
-Do you deliver twins?
-Are you trained in neonatal resuscitation?
-If I have to transfer, do you stay with me or do you transfer my care completely to the ER doctor?
Post Partum Care
-Do you perform the newborn screening test (PKU) or do I need to take my baby to a pediatrician for this?
-Can you give me breastfeeding support?
-What kind of postpartum care do you offer?
-Do you do placenta encapsulation? What is the cost?
-Do you have a post partum doula you recommend?
-How do you handle a tear in the perineum?
-Will you be comfortable with me having my birth photographed or filmed?
-How long are your appointments?
-When may I call you if I have questions?
-How much do you charge, and by what date would the full amount be due?
-Do you accept payment plans? What is your refund policy if we decide to switch care providers?
-How often do your clients succeed in having their health insurance provider reimburse them?
-Are you planning any vacations or other major events that may conflict with our birth?
-What is your preferred method of communication, prenatally (phone, email, text)?
Midwifery is a challenging profession. What can I do to be a fantastic client?