There are many reasons to choose a midwife, and if you’re thinking of doing a home birth, you’re in good company. We’ve got a few home births under our belt, and in this episode, we’re going to share some of the top questions to ask when you’re looking for a midwife.
Interviewing a midwife is super important, and the questions need to be specific and thorough. Talking about everything in advance is going to save you a lot of trouble down the road – trust us, we know. We’ve learned a lot from having 4 home births and 3 different midwives. We hope that this episode gives you all the information you need to bypass any unnecessary stress during this incredible time. Here are the questions you should be asking your OB or midwife:
1: Why did the midwife get involved in midwifery in the first place? This will help give you an understanding of the midwife’s passion. You want to be choosing someone who has a spark in their eye with this work and not necessarily someone who has been doing this for 40 years and may be tired of it.
2: Experience is up next. Some midwives are more medically oriented (medwives) and trained in the hospital. That might not be what you’re looking for. Just because someone is a midwife does not mean that they have the same philosophy that you subscribe to.
Ask how many years of experience and where they’ve had the experience. I much more value someone who has been at actual live births rather than textbook experience. Make sure to look at your state and see what types of midwives there are.
3: How many women does the midwife commit to every month? Some midwives will overbook their schedules. For our first baby Isaac, our midwife had to send in her backup, who was also overbooked and had to send her back up! A solo midwife should have around five max per month! This is crucial to know so that you can have peace of mind on your delivery day. Also, understand who the backup is (and her backup!) and get to know them.
4: What is her transfer rate: How many successful home births has she had, and how many has she transferred to the hospital? Look for around 90-95%.
5: Does the midwife come to the hospital in case of a transfer? I know someone who ended up having to be transferred to the hospital, and the midwife abandoned her. Some hospitals don’t give midwives rights, so make sure to do your research and ask plenty of questions surrounding this.
6: What is the midwife’s stance on prenatal care? For instance, I’m not huge on ultrasounds. I don’t want my child overexposed to radiation. I want a midwife who is going to allow me to make that decision. Other routine testings are also included in this like glucose tests, and strep testing are also in play here. Ask what their stance is on you opting out of specific tests. Many midwives will give you an “informed choice” by giving you the information and allowing you to make that decision.
7: What factors can potentially risk you out of your midwife’s care? For starters, you want to make sure that you are as healthy as possible if you’re going to a homebirth route. If you have chronic conditions that can potentially hurt the baby, the midwife may choose not to work with you. Sometimes baby’s positioning and going into early or late labor, could also risk you out of a midwife’s care.
8: Standards of care with the birth. You want to know what the terms are for cutting the cord, the placenta etc. – and make sure that they are aligned with what you want.
9: Ask about the backup doctor and all people in charge of care. Get to know them.
10: What is midwife’s style or approach when a woman is in labor. Figure out if you want a strong personality, dominant, or soft-spoken personality.
11: How will midwife navigate a stalled labor? You don’t necessarily want someone who is going to transfer care at the drop of a hat or create a medical intervention when it’s not needed.
12: Who will come to the birth with the midwife? I prefer someone who will bring an assistant.
Who you choose as a birth partner is one of the most important decisions you are going to make for your birth story. We hope this has helped you get an understanding of the necessary questions to ask your potential midwife.