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18 of the Most Important Questions to Ask a Potential Midwife

18 of the Most Important Questions to Ask a Potential Midwife

Yesterday we went to see a second midwife. (And had a little something extra happen!) We’ve been to a birthing center with CPM’s (certified professional midwife) and now an office with a CNM (certified nurse midwife) as we try to decide what is best for us and this pregnancy.

As I dive a little deeper into the world of midwives this time around, I’m finding more and more that they expect me to have questions for them. They actually schedule extra time to spend with me to talk about their profession, education, and ease any concerns that I may have.

I also had a wonderful doctor like this while pregnant with Bella, now 3, but haven’t really found any others like that here. And I’ve been to several.

Because I was taken aback the first appointment at how ready they were to answer questions, I decided to put together info that I’ve gained along the way from our conversations, making inquiries, and the responses from other moms who have also been to midwives before. There are many more questions you can ask depending on your situation, but I tried to pull the ones that can be generally applied. (Also keep in mind, it’s best to talk to your own practitioner  This is all from my experience!)

My hope is that these make your appointments more thorough and you leave with a sense of knowing if this is the right care provider for you at this point. They can be applied to CPM’s, CNM’s, home birth, birthing centers, and hospital settings, and yes, a lot of them can be asked of an OB or family practitioner as well – and should be!

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    Where did they train? What kind of training did they receive and for how long?
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    At our center, we see a student midwife along with the CPM's. Each time we are told how long they have been with the center, etc.
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    If you are seeing just one midwife (like for a home birth) be sure to find out if they know they'll be gone around your due date, or what happens if they unexpectedly are. Meet others in their practice or find out what would happen if they practice alone.
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    Do they use methods to turn? How long would they let a baby stay this way before it would complicate the birth process?
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    Many hospitals won't allow the midwife to continue working after transfer, but some may allow them to stay. Check to see if they have a relationship with any you could be transferred to.
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    This might depend on both the level of comfort, experience, and laws in your state. Also ask yourself this - at what point would you feel like you need to transfer?
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    Normal appointments are usually once a month until sometime in third tri. While I can wait for my doctor for an hour to see her for a half hour, my midwife often takes an hour or two for the appointment alone.
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    Midwifes are there for normal, usually non-high risk births - but each of them and their practices can decide what they are comfortable with.
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    If you know that your beliefs won't allow for certain things during birth or pregnancy, be sure to bring this up beforehand so you can work out a plan should that factor become an issue. You may have to search around to find a midwife who is able to work with your requests.
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    The birthing center here is freestanding, meaning it has no actual ties to a hospital. Some do however. Check to see if they have a physician they refer to for things out of their scope of practice, and plan to meet them at some point.
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    You should get some kind of a fee breakdown, in writing, about what is and isn't provided. Hospital transfers, some kinds of testing, etc are usually your own to pay for (or your insurance).
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    If you're 30 weeks and your midwife transfers your care to someone else (a physician or even another center) what, if anything, will you be refunded of the money you may have already paid?
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    Many midwives offer support directly with breastfeeding, both immediate and over the course of the first few months or year. But check to see what yours does in case it's not going well, do they know lactation consultants? Will they help you find someone?
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    After a certain period, your baby will need to see a pediatrician. Also if you choose to circumcise and for some tests/shots, the midwife usually won't provide those. Some do the first few well baby exams, as well as postpartum checks.
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    Pre-term is considered anything under 36 weeks for most midwives/centers. So if you go into labor before then, you'll head to a hospital. But will they show up and stay with you?
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    Every policy is different, but the common week of "overdue" is usually after 42. Some midwives can induce, some can't. If you refuse an inducement, what happens at that point?
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    I don't know about you, but for me, prenatal appointments can either be something I look forward to or dread. No harm in asking what a typical one is like, what procedures are always done.
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    I've yet to find a practice (doctor or midwife) that says no, but often the policies vary. For our ultrasounds, they ask you bring a person to watch your child if you bring them with you. Others just have a small area filled with toys. If your parents want to come, is that ok? Is there a limit on people who can be there for a big appointment day?

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Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter and the loss of her twin boys on the aptly named Hormonal ImbalancesSmaller glimpses into her day are on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

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