If you are considering a home birth, perhaps the following are questions you have wondered about. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any specific questions…I’d love to help you in any way I can! Please note, these questions and answers pertain specifically to my practice here at Gentle Delivery Childbirth Services, and may not apply to other midwives and practices.
Q. At what point in my pregnancy should I contact you?
A. You are welcome to contact me at any time-with preconception questions or as soon as you find out your pregnant. A free no-obligation consultation where you can ask questions and see my office can occur at any point, but I typically schedule your first actual appointment once you are between 10-12 weeks along, as that allows the baby to be mature enough to hear the heartbeat. The earlier you are in touch, the greater chance I will have an opening over the time you are due, though it’s never too late to talk with me about your options, either…we can begin care late in the pregnancy when necessary, too!
Q. What does a normal prenatal look like, and where does it take place?
A. Prenatal appointments normally take place in my home office, usually on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, although other times are possible. I generally expect to take anywhere from 30 min. to an hour, with the goal being able to spend enough time to answer any questions or concerns a couple might have, as well as including education regarding exercise, nutrition, positioning, childbirth, etc. At each visit a urine sample is checked, weight is recorded, BP is taken, and baby is listened to, measured, and palpated to see his or her position. Other testing and/or procedures will be performed as needed. The normal schedule for visits is every month until 28 weeks, followed by bi-weekly appointments until 36 weeks, and weekly visits thereafter. A home visit is performed at 36 weeks, in order to give myself and any other birth attendants a chance to see your location in normal daylight hours!
Q. Do I need to see a doctor besides seeing you for prenatal care?
A. That honestly depends upon your personal preferences. The prenatal care I give would be similar to what you would receive from a doctor, including labs and referrals for things like sonograms. Most of my clients do not see a doctor while receiving care from me, as it keeps costs down and keeps them from multiple prenatal care visits. If your OB office is open to co-care, it can provide you with a seamless transition in case of transport, especially if it is covered by your insurance provider. If care with an OB is covered in full by your insurance provider, you may benefit from continuing care with them in order to have the costs for your labwork and other testing covered completely.
Q. Will my insurance cover your services, or how can I afford it?
A. Sadly, many insurance companies do not cover home midwifery care, though it is always worth checking into thoroughly. I would be happy to provide you with some information on how to best discuss this with your insurance company, and I am also willing to give you a written statement complete with insurance codes to submit to your insurance company. In order to keep my own costs down, I do not file insurance, but I do try to make care accessible to all families by charging a sliding scale fee based upon your family’s income. Keep in mind, too, that when using insurance, you will have a co-pay, and for some people the cost of my services are either similar or lower than the co-pay amount you would be paying with a hospital delivery.
Q. I notice you have a student working with you. How does that influence my care?
A. When a student is interning for midwifery training, their level of involvement varies according to where they are at in their studies. A student midwife begins by observing all aspects of midwifery care, and applying the academic knowledge she has already received to practical, hands-on situations. As her experience expands, so do her opportunities-she assumes more responsibility depending upon her level of experience and skill. Students are always grateful for any opportunity afforded them to learn, and would love to be as involved with your care as you feel comfortable with. I always strive to make sure the client feels completely comfortable with any care provided by a student, whether that is allowing the student to feel for baby’s position and fundal measurement, or whether it is as extensive as allowing the student to participate in a high level of care during delivery. Whether you prefer lots of involvement or minimal involvement, a student generally acts as my birth assistant during the actual labor and delivery, helping to provide labor support, take notes, and in general act as my second set of hands.
Q. Who will attend my birth? Is is okay to invite others to be present in addition to the birth team?
A. Normally I attend births with one or two qualified assistants. These ladies are usually either skilled students or birth attendants, and enable me to know you are getting the best care possible, allowing both baby and mom to be cared for in case of emergency. Besides this, whomever else you choose to have present at your birth is up to you. I’ve been at births where it was the bare minimum of people, and I’ve been to births where there was a crowd! The main issue is that you feel totally and completely at ease and comfortable with whomever is present, as that can majorly impact your experience.
Q. Are children welcome to attend the birth?
A. It’s your birth, so you get to decide if you want your children present or not! If you are planning on having your children attending, I strongly recommend you having an extra person handy whose sole responsibility is caring for your child(ren) so that you can focus on the delivery.
Q. Do you do waterbirths?
A. Yes! Laboring and delivering in the water are both options. For many people, their home tub is comfortable enough, but if you’re wanting to use an actual “birth pool”, I can put you in touch with rental possibilities.
Q. I had a cesarean with my previous delivery, does that rule out a home birth?
A. I am happy to help women VBAC whenever possible. For most women, a VBAC at home is statistically safer than a repeat c-section. Make sure you get a copy of your previous medical records, and we can discuss your particular situation in person in more detail.
Q. What birth positions are options at home?
A. There are about as many options as there are women! One benefit to delivering at home is the flexibility to figure out what works the best for you…whether that is squatting, laying in bed, standing in the shower, or wherever you are the most comfortable. I have a traditional “birth stool” that I bring along to births which gives you the option of a low squat, but most women instinctively find a position that works the best for them.
Q. Are you prepared for possible emergencies?
A. Yes. I maintain current certification in both neonatal resuscitation and CPR, bringing along emergency equipment in case of a baby with breathing difficulties. I also carry equipment to assist with stabilizing a mom in the rare case of hemorrhage. It’s my goal to make your home birth experience as safe as possible, which includes careful monitoring of both baby and mom during and after labor, so as to catch any concern that is out of the scope of “normal”. Consistent prenatal care combined with healthy, low risk moms lowers the chance of emergency procedures drastically, but your birth team stays alert for any signs of possible surprises. We can discuss this question in more detail during your consultation if you wish.
Q. So, laboring at home sounds nice, but what about the mess that comes along with birth?
A. Most people are surprised at how little mess is involved. I have families purchase disposable underpads (available at most drugstores) and a cheap shower curtain, which we use to protect surfaces such as the bed and carpet for the actual birth. These things get thrown away afterwards, and myself or my assistant will start laundry before we leave your home. We also make sure to tidy things up so that you aren’t left with clean up!
Q. How do I go about getting documentation for my child?
A. I will file all needed paperwork with the state, which includes the official birth certificate and request for a social security number. I also perform the newborn screening test on your baby during the home visit which occurs 24-48 hours after birth.