Choosing a Midwife
You’ve decided to have your baby at home with a midwife. Choosing a midwife requires a bit of research and some deep soul searching. Perhaps the following information can assist you in making that decision, leading you into having a more satisfying relationship with your care provider.
You might begin by asking your friends about the births of their children. Inquire about what they liked best about their experiences. What would they have liked to be different? Were their midwives able to accommodate the circumstances of the labors and births in a positive manner?
Schedule an appointment with two or three midwives. Some midwives do an introductory session with a group of perspective couples, and other midwives do individual interviews.
In order to know the protocols and policies of the midwives, it’s important to have a few questions about issues that are important to you as a couple. If you choose to use questions that you find on the internet, please be selective. The questions should be specific to your particular situation. Here are a few questions to consider asking:
- What kind of education and training did you receive in order to become a midwife? Look for a midwife that attends birth regularly and has more than a few years of experience. Inquire about her transport rate. Ask for references from satisfied clients. It is important that she has a license to practice midwifery in the state of California.
- Ask about the particulars of her practice – What days do you see clients? Do you work with a partner? How often will I be seen prenatally? What is a typical prenatal appointment like? Do you do any home visits? What is the postpartum care like?
- What kind of breastfeeding support do you offer, immediately and throughout the postpartum period?
- How do you allow for differences in culture and beliefs?
- Can I bring friends and family members to my prenatal appointments? Children?
- How do you deal with preterm labor or going overdue? Posterior babies? Breeches? Twins?
- If you had a family emergency or two births were happening at the same time, who would come to my delivery?
- For what reasons might you risk a client out for homebirth? For what reasons would you transfer from a homebirth to a hospital? If the need for a hospital transfer occurred, would you or your partner accompany me? Would you still participate in the birth, and, if so, in what capacity?
- Do you have a relationship with a physician who you can consult with or transfer to if necessary?
- What is your fee schedule? Is there any refund if I have to transfer out of the practice? If I have to transport to a hospital during the birth, what happens financially?
In addition to feeling comfortable with information about the medical capabilities of your midwife it is also an advantage to explore your own emotional perspective.
During the interview with the midwife, notice how you and your partner feel. Are your questions answered in a compassionate, caring manner? Do you feel confident that whatever condition arises, the situation will be handled in a competent manner? In the first ten minutes of your interview, it will probably become clear to you whether or not you trust this person to guide you through one of the most transforming experiences of a lifetime.
With all of this, please remember that working with a midwife is a partnership. You are the primary determinant of your birth experience. Only you can take care of yourself, follow good advice and prepare yourself for the challenges of natural labor. Your midwife brings to the table her years of education, experience and expertise in as conscientious and loving a way as she can. You bring to the table your genetics, your health and your physical, emotional, and spiritual history. Your midwife has the same hopes and dreams for a good pregnancy and birth as you do. In order to achieve this, you need to be able to communicate directly and honestly with your midwife, especially if challenges arise. Choose someone you feel safe and comfortable with, someone you feel you can express your needs to, someone who will hold your hand and guide you as you make this journey.