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Questions to Ask the Midwife About Homebirth

When interviewing midwives, many people wonder what questions they should ask.   These sample questions may help you think of additional areas you wish to explore.

Midwifery Education and Experience
What is your philosophy about pregnancy and birth?
Why did you become a midwife?
How long have you practiced midwifery?
Approximately how many births have you attended?
How many of the births you've attended were homebirths?
How, when and where did you receive your education in midwifery?  
Did you attend a formal midwifery education program or did you train by apprenticeship, or both?
Are you also a nurse?   Are you a licensed midwife?  
Are you a certified professional midwife?  
Are you certified in Neonatal Resuscitation?
Would you provide me with the names of a few mothers as references?
Do you maintain statistics from your practice?
Have you had any poor outcomes for mothers or babies?   Please explain.

Midwifery Practice
Do you work alone or with other midwives?
What arrangements do you have if you are sick or if two of your clients are in labor at the same time?
Will I be able to meet any other midwives who might be involved in my birth?
Do you participate in regular peer review?
What prenatal care do you provide?  
What do your prenatal visits consist of?
Do you provide home visits?  
What are your recommendations about my nutrition during pregnancy?
What protocols do you have regarding "going overdue" during the pregnancy?
How do you feel about waterbirth?  
How many of your clients deliver in the water?  
What are your views on episiotomy?  
What is your episiotomy rate?  
How often do your clients have an intact perineum after the birth?  
Can you suture if a tear occurs?  
Up to what degree do you suture?  
How many third or fourth degree tears have you had?  
Do you assist with cleanup after the birth?  
How long do you usually stay after the birth?
How often will I see you after the birth?  
What do you do during the postpartum visits?  
Do you check the baby at each postpartum visit?

Equipment
What equipment do you carry?
What neonatal resuscitation equipment do you carry?   Do you have oxygen available?
What supplies do I need for a homebirth?   Where can I purchase them?
Do you have supplies available in the event of a hemorrhage?
How skilled are you at placing IVs?

Practice Guidelines
Do you have a copy of the rules and regulations that pertain to midwifery practice in this state?   Are certain policies and procedures for my care mandated by your licensure?
What prenatal tests do you require or recommend?
What conditions absolutely risk me out for homebirth?
How many weeks along must I be in order to be able to have a homebirth?
Are you willing to use a fetoscope instead of a doppler during my pregnancy?
How often do you listen to fetal heart tones during labor?  
What are your standards regarding monitoring of the baby during pregnancy and labor?
How frequently do you do internal exams during labor?
How do you feel about having a doula at a homebirth?
Do you provide newborn metabolic screening after the birth?

Childbirth Education
Do you offer childbirth classes?   If you refer out to other childbirth educators, which classes do you recommend and why?

Hospital or Physician Transfer of Care
Under what conditions do you transfer to the hospital setting?  
Will you or an associate stay with me if I need to transfer to the hospital?  
What is the plan of action if hospital transfer becomes necessary?  
What consultation arrangements can be made in advance?  
What problems or complications in pregnancy would require that a physician would become my primary caregiver?
What is your rate of hospital transfer?  
What are the most common reasons for transfer to the hospital?
What is your cesarean rate?  
What are the most common reasons for performing a cesarean section?

Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Do you have training or experience in alternative medicine?   How did you obtain it?
Do you carry medications, homeopathic remedies or herbs for use during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum periods?
What do you recommend to deal with the common discomforts of pregnancy?   Do you generally recommend alternative therapies before pharmaceutical ones?
Do you refer to other providers who give supportive care such as acupressure, acupuncture, chiropractic care, osteopathic treatment and massage?

Availability and Fees
What vacation plans do you have?  
Do you have other mothers booked at the same time I am due?
What are your fees and what is included in your services?  
Do you use a professional insurance billing person?
In terms of the midwifery fee, what happens if I have to transfer out of your care?
How do I reach you when I need to speak with you?   Are you available at all times?
At what point in my labor will you come to me?   How long will it take for you to arrive?   How do we obtain a birth certificate?
Is there a fee for the newborn metabolic screen?

And finally, ask yourself ....
Do I want this person with me at this most intimate moment of my life? 

 

 


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