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40 Questions To Ask When Considering A Home Birth

Written by Patrice D'Agostino

Photography by 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?

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