Choosing a midwife is one of the most important choices you can make for your new baby and for yourself. The midwife you choose will be the foundation of your entire birthing experience. This choice comes with a lot of emotions, responsibility, and weight. Therefore, knowing what to ask a potential midwife is incredibly important yet can feel overwhelming. As they say, knowing is half the battle.
Ask About a Midwife’s Credentials
You will want to know before going into your birth the background of your midwife. Not only should you ask what school she went to, but you will also want to ask if the school was nationally accredited for midwifery. Plus, be sure to ask if they are certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives and licensed by the state. Some midwives are simply Certified Midwives and they are registered and knowledgeable in midwifery, they are just not nurses.
Ask About Previous Births Attended
While HIPPA prevents a midwife from talking about specifics of any particular patient by name, a midwife can disclose what sort of births she has attended. Ask how long she has been in practice and where the setting of the practice. Discover how much work your midwife takes on her plate. An overworked midwife might be tired and distracted during birth, or have two babies coming at the same time.
Ask About Practice Policies
Some midwives work solo and have private practices. Other midwives work in a group. Both have pros and cons, therefore you’ll have to decide what you are comfortable with. For instance, some midwives are affiliated with a doctors office and have a backup obstetrician. It is generally recommended that your midwife have a relationship with a hospital, just in case anything should go wrong. This, of course, is assuming you have chosen home birth. If you have chosen to give birth in a birthing center or hospital, you’ll need to make doubly sure that your midwife has admitting privileges and that the birthing center is accredited.
Prenatal, Delivery, and Postnatal Care
Be sure you and your midwife discuss how prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care will go. Ask about recommendations, what your midwife generally does during these phases, and what your options through her are. Ask your midwife what role she expects to have before, during, and after birth. Ask what she typically does, what her patterns are. You’ll be able to then get a feel for how she’ll be during your labor and birth.
Consider Everything Carefully
Really listen to her answers and take notes. If you don’t agree on philosophy or on another aspect of care, it may be wise to look elsewhere. As it’s been said, knowing is half the battle. Consider following this interview sheet from babycenter.com. The questions are superb and will guide you through the interview. One last thing my mother tells me is to trust your instincts. You’ll know when you’ve found your midwife by that feeling.