40 Questions To Ask When Considering A Home Birth

Written by

Patrice D’Agostino

11:00 am
06/10/15

Illustration by Alessandra Olanow

One of the many beauties of childbirth rests in the fact that no one can predict nor control the circumstances of its unfolding. The solace we find as parents going into labor is knowing that the practitioner we have chosen is the perfect fit to help guide our new life into the world. When considering the option of home birthing, it’s important to ask the right questions of the midwife you are seeking to work with. This is key to ensure that all of yours and your baby’s needs are met. A few of us here at Mother have been through this process and have gathered a list of questions to ask when interviewing your potential midwife. In addition to conducting extensive research, it is highly suggested to interview in person, while also assessing if this relationship will be the right fit for your pregnancy and birthing experience. Check out our list below…

  1. How long have you worked as a midwife?
  2. What is your training? For example is their title CNM, CM, CPM, etc.
  3. What is your birth philosophy? What inspired you to become a midwife?
  4. How many home births have you performed?
  5. How many births do you attend each month?
  6. Do you work alone or in a team during labor?
  7. What is the total cost of care? And what is included?
  8. Is any portion of the cost refundable if care is transferred to an OB at any point prior to the birth?
  9. Have any of your clients been successful at recovering all or portions of your charges through their health insurance plans? (Typically this only applies to PPOs)
  10. Do you work with a service to help clients with insurance claims?
  11. Do you recommend working with a doula?
  12. Do you provide nutritional support during pregnancy and labor?
  13. What is your experience with herbs, homeopathy, and alternative medicine as pregnancy and labor support?
  14. Do you offer or suggest taking childbirth preparation courses?
  15. Do you provide and/or require any pregnancy screenings? (First and second trimester genetic screenings, gestational diabetes, Group B Strep, etc).
  16. Do you routinely check glucose and protein levels via urine samples at visits?
  17. Under what circumstances would prenatal care need to be transferred to an OB?
  18. How do you maintain client medical records? Electronically and/or written?
  19. If you are unable to attend my birth for any reason, who will attend in your place?
  20. What happens in the case where two clients are laboring simultaneously?
  21. What equipment do you bring to the birth?
  22. Do you have a birth kit for purchase and if not will you work with me to assemble one?
  23. Do you have any preferences regarding how many people attend the birth?
  24. At what point during my labor will you come to my home? When should I call you?
  25. What tools do you use to monitor the baby during labor and after their birth?
  26. Do you facilitate water births? And do you supply the birth pool?
  27. What is your hospital transfer rate?
  28. What is the most common reason for hospital transfer?
  29. If I must have a preterm or postterm hospital birth, will you be present to offer support?
  30. Do you carry oxygen?
  31. Do you carry Pitocin the rare case of hemorrhaging after birthing?
  32. What do you do in the case of a nuchal cord?
  33. Are you trained in infant resuscitation?
  34. Have you ever lost a baby or a mother? If so, under what circumstances?
  35. What level perineum tearing, if any, do you suture? Do you transfer to the hospital for any particular levels of tearing?
  36. Under what circumstances, if any, do you perform episiotomies?
  37. How long will you and/or your support team stay with mom and baby after the birth?
  38. How many postpartum visits are offered under your care and on what days do these visits occur?
  39. Is breastfeeding support offered?
  40. Do you have any references available for contact?

Leave a Comment

7 comments

Alexandra

This has been pinned!

Warm Regards,
Alexandra
http://www.littlewildheart.com

Elizabeth

These are great questions. I had a wonderful midwife in LA – Amy Tinney. She is the best and we were so well cared for!

Beck

I wish it were easier to get homebirth covered by insurance. When I had my child two years ago it was next to impossible. So I simply had to go with the homebirth midwife I could afford – which is not the best criteria to go on to say the least. If I get the chance again someday, I would relish in interviewing a new midwife! Midwives are awesome!

Anna

Hi, I’m from The Netherlands, where home birth is the standard and paid by insurance. If you prefer giving birth in hospital you have to pay by yourself, which is pretty expensive. So, many women end up giving birth at home. In The Netherlands exist the highest mortality rates with infants during birth of the “developed countries”. Do I need to say more? Please please go to hospital!

Malayka

Wow really makes me realise how lucky we are in New Zealand! Homebirths still aren’t the norm but if you use a midwife (which most people do) then all costs are covered by the government. It seems insane for it to be any other way!

Listen to Your Heart - How to Choose Your Midwife - Taproot Midwifery

[…] midwife? I’m not going to give you a list of questions to ask your midwife (because so many other people have done that for me), but you should be asking yourself these questions throughout the […]

Katie Dunn

One of the most important questions that is on this list is probably about being trained in infant resuscitation. So many things can go wrong during the birthing process, and so I definitely think that it would be wise to have the most trained midwife available to you. What other types of training should I check for?

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