What is a midwife?
A midwife is a specially trained person who specializes in low risk pregnancies and uncomplicated births. A midwife can provide complete care during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, as well as care for a healthy newborn at birth and the first two weeks.
What is the midwives model of care?
The midwives model of care has a foundation in the belief that pregnancy and birth are normal processes, not medical conditions. It follows a low technological intervention, high hands on and educational care plan. The midwives model of care is watchful and identifies women with higher needs for a higher level of obstetrical attention. This woman centered method of care has been shown to decrease the need for medical intervention, especially cesarean section. For more information on the midwife’s model of care, there’s an excellent article here, and a brief summary here.
What is your birth philosophy?
Pregnancy and childbirth is an exciting time for a woman and her family. I believe that birth is a normal, physiological process and not a medical condition. During pregnancy, I encourage personal research and self-education, and I expect women to be active participants in their care and the decisions that surround it. During birth, I believe in careful monitoring and unobtrusive observation in order to ensure that birth is progressing normally and safely while maintaining a woman’s privacy and control over her birth and her body. I believe that good self-care, prenatal visits, and careful screening help to keep birth safe. More than anything else, I believe that woman should labor and birth where they feel most safe and capable of relaxing.
About Midwifery Care
How early should I begin prenatal care?
That’s up to you! I recommended that you begin prenatal care in your first trimester, but how early is your decision. Some women want to meet as soon as possible after they find out their pregnant, but some women prefer to wait until 10-12 weeks when it is easier to hear the baby’s heartbeat and some of the symptoms of early pregnancy are beginning to subside.
How often will I see you?
I follow a standard prenatal schedule. We will meet every four weeks until you are 28 weeks pregnant, then every other week to 36 weeks, and weekly until you have your baby. Between appointments, we can arrange for extra visits as needed.
What can I expect during a prenatal visit?
Your initial visit will be approximately 2 hours long. During that visit, we will go over your past and current pregnancies, general health, nutrition, and answer any questions that you might have. There will be a brief physicial and we will check out baby and draw any necessary labs.
Repeat visits are 30-60 minutes on average. During every visit, we will discuss how you are feeling and what’s new during your pregnancy. There will always be time to answer your questions and talk about your baby’s development. There will be a brief exam where we check your vitals as well as baby’s growth and heartbeat.
Do I need to see a doctor?
Unless you begin to develop signs and symptoms of complications, I can provide all of your prenatal care. You do not need to see a doctor while seeing a midwife. However, I do work with a consulting physician should the need for one arise during your pregnancy and birth.
What about lab work and sonograms?
All lab work can be drawn in my office. For sonograms, I can refer you to a sono technician.
About Your Birth
When will I see you in labor?
I encourage clients to call me early in labor, so that we can assess where you are at in labor and we can decide together when you are ready for me. Typically I will come to your house when you are in active labor – meaning regular and strong contractions that have remained consistent – but I will come earlier if requested. I am always available to you by phone.
Who else will come to my birth?
In addition to the people who you have chosen to be present at your labor and birth (family, friends, or other support persons) I will always call another trained birth attendant to assist me during your birth. This ensures that I can focus on you more completely while someone else is recording events during your birth and setting up. This also means that you and the baby each have a skilled attendant available to you.
What if there’s an emergency?
Midwives are trained to provide you with emergency first aid. Although we are monitoring and screening for any signs of complications during pregnancy and labor, sometimes the unexpected can happen. I will bring oxygen and other supplies in case you need extra care, as well as having prepared an emergency plan for transport ahead of time, should that be necessary.
How long do you stay after the birth?
Typically, I will stay two to three hours after your baby is born. While you are bonding with and getting to know your baby, your assistant and I will be cleaning up and monitoring you both as unobtrusively as possible. After about 2 hours I will do a thorough newborn exam with your baby next to you. Once you have nursed, eaten, and you and baby are tucked into bed, I will leave.
When will I see you postpartum?
I will come to your house to see you and your family two to three days after the birth, and again at 1 week. After that, I will see you at the office at three weeks and at six weeks postpartum. During each of those visits, we will review how you are feeling, how breastfeeding is going, and more, as well as doing a physical on you and the baby.
Special considerations and requests
Do you do waterbirths?
I love waterbirth! My youngest daughter was born into the water, and I’ve been a proponent of this gentle birthing method ever since. For more information on waterbirth, please visit Waterbirth International.
Do you attend VBACs?
Yes, I do attend VBACs on a case by case basis. VBACs hold a special place in my heart, and I am very committed to helping women successfully VBAC. Please contact me to see if a HBAC (homebirth after cesarean) with me is a good fit for you.
Have a question I didn’t answer here? Use my contact form to email me and let me know.