Olivia blogs about fertility, pregnancy, and babies at Trying To Conceive. She chose midwifery care for her own two births
If you are expecting a baby and think midwifery care might be the best match for you, starting the search for the perfect midwife early on is a good idea. It is never too early to start looking for the right midwife for you, and some couples commence their search as soon as they start using an ovulation calendar!
Whether you are hoping to give birth with a midwife in a hospital, a birth center, or at home, there are many questions to consider before choosing your midwife or midwifery practice. Which questions will help you get as much information about your midwife and the care she provides as possible?
- What are your credentials? Where did you train to be a midwife?
Not all midwives have the same training. In the US, there are essentially two kinds of midwives. A CNM, certified nurse midwife, has a nursing degree and went on to specialize in midwifery. Certified professional midwives (CPMs) often learned their trade as an apprentice. In the latter case, asking how long they have been practicing as well as how many births they attended will give you some insights.
- Who will attend my birth? Do you have a back-up?
Some midwives, esspecially homebirth midwives, work independently. With this kind of midwife you can expect your midwife, perhaps with an assistant or apprentice, to attend your delivery. If you choose a larger midwifery practice, a birth center, or a hospital you are likely to receive prenatal care from rotating midwives, and your birth will be attended by the midwife on shift when you go into labor.
If you choose an indepdent midwife, ask who her back-up is if you go into labor when she is attending another birth. It might also be helpful to know how many clients she has taken on in the month you are due.
- How many of your clients transfer to OB care, and for what reasons?
You might feel like you are putting the midwife you are interviewing on the spot with this question, but it gives you some very important information. For what reasons does your midwife normally transfer clients? Does she have a back-up obstetrician she works with?
- What kind of prenatal care do you provide?
Some midwives are happy with providing minimal prenatal care, and are willing to follow their clients’ lead. Other require ultrasounds, and routine blood and urine tests. No matter what kind of prenatal care you personally feel comfortable with, finding a midwife who is close to you in her views will be invaluable. You also want to find out where prenatal appointments take place, and wherther your midwife is able to react in cases of emergency, like when you are experiencing unusual pregnancy signs, at any time during the day or night – and whether prenatal care is included in the overall fee, or charged separately.
- Which birth complications do you most commonly see? How do you handle complications?
This question will give you great insights into your midwife’s experience and ability. It will also enable you to find out how she handles certain complications. Along with these questions, you can also ask about your midwife’s mortality rate.