Choosing Your Midwife – A Checklist to Consider
There are many, many questions you can ask a potential midwife. I've put together an extensive list, but you'll think of other things to ask! Use these and add your own when you go to interview a midwife:
- What type of midwife is she?
- What kind of training does she have?
- Where will she attend births?
- What prenatal tests does she require? What does she recommend?
- Will you choose the back obstetrician or does she have someone she works with? Who is it?
- What is her view on labor and birth?
- Can you walk and/or move around during labor?
- What positions can you birth in?
- Can you eat and drink during labor?
- How will she monitor the baby?
- How often will she monitor the baby?
- Can you labor in water? Can you birth in water?
- Will you have to have an IV?
- What conditions will she transfer you to obstetrical care for during pregnancy (“risk you out”)? What is her rate of prenatal transfer?
- What conditions will she transfer you from home to hospital for? From birth center to hospital? Will she stay with you if you have to transfer?
- Will she provide complete prenatal care?
- Will she stay with you continuously throughout your labor and birth, or could someone else in the practice relieve her? Would she be busy with paperwork?
- Will she attend the birth, or does it depend on who is on call?
- What is her rate of transfer from home? From the birth center?
- What is her cesarean section rate? Assisted delivery rate?
- What her view on episiotomy?
- What procedures does she perform immediately on the newborn? What can wait? Will she wait if you request it?
- Will she provide you with education as you prepare for the birth?
- Who will she bring with her to the birth?
- What will she bring with her to the birth?
- How long will she stay after you deliver your baby?
- What kind of postpartum follow-up does she give?
- When does she recommend your home birth or birth center birth baby see a pediatrician or doctor?
- How long does an appointment normally last? What is a typical appointment like?
- How many babies is she catching during a month?
- What happens if two clients are in labor at the same time?
- Has she ever missed a birth?
- When will she come to you after you begin labor?
- Will she do a breech delivery? Twin delivery?
- What does she do in the event of a long labor? A “stalled” labor?
- What does she think of premature rupture of membranes (PROM)?
- How long does she wait to cut the cord after the baby is born?
- What does she do if there is a post partum hemorrhage?
- What are her fees and what do they include? What is her payment schedule?
- What does she do if a mother goes “post dates?” What if a mother is approaching 42 weeks?
- Is she certified in neonatal resuscitation? Does she carry oxygen to the birth?
- Why did she become a midwife?
- How many births has she attended as primary caregiver?
- Does she doing regular continuing education?
- Where will my prenatal visits be at?
- What does she expect regarding self-care during pregnancy?
- What is her view on nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy?
- Have she ever had to resuscitate a baby?
- Have she ever lost a baby? What were the circumstances?
- Will she help me with breastfeeding?
- How does she feel about circumcision? Immunization?
- How do I get my baby's birth certificate?
Ask any questions you come up with. If you're nervous about anything, talk it over with your prospective midwife and think about how her response makes you feel. If you're unclear about anything ask her to explain again.
If a midwife seems like a perfect fit, that's great! But if you are unsure, don't feel bad about thinking about her more, or interviewing another midwife or midwives. You're deciding who'll be with you at one of the most important events of your life!
Be sure that you feel comfortable with her. Did the midwife listen to all your questions and answer as fully as you wanted? Was she respectful of you (and your partner if you have one)? Do you trust her?
Make sure your midwife feels right for you. Birth is an amazing and intimate experience and again, this is the care provider who will share it with you!
- Midwife Types and Midwifery Model of Care overview
- What to expect at prenatal appointments
- A checklist for interviewing a doctor