This is so important because, as a society, we tend to research, read reviews, and look to google for the answers, but the sad truth is, we do that for almost everything we buy. And, time and time again, people just go through the motions and simply go to the first care provider that pops up. Tons of women will choose a midwife because their friend or family member suggested them. They don't go through the process of interviewing more than one midwife. And they are not equipped with the right questions to ask her to even know if she will be able to provide the services they want.
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In my practice, I offered free 1 hour consultations to all potential clients. The consult was a prerequisite to care. We had to meet face-to-face and have an in-depth conversation about all the aspects of midwifery care before we started working together. We discussed the prenatal schedule, the risk assessments, lab testing, ultrasounds, the fees, what to expect in labor and birth, what to expect in a potential transport, back up, postpartum and newborn care, breastfeeding support, the home birth supplies you need, herbs for pregnancy and postpartum recovery, how to write a birth plan, how to obtain the birth certificate, and everything in between.
I loved it when potential clients came in with a list of questions, so the conversation could be laser-focused on getting those questions answered. After hundreds of consultations, I realized that I should create a list of essential questions that couples should be asking so they can make informed decisions that are in alignment with their core values about birth. Like I said before, many couples simply did not know what to ask, which is completely understandable because all of this information is confusing and overwhelming, especially if this is your first baby or your first home birth, and you've never thought about any of this before.
That is why today, we will cover what to do before, during, and after you consult with a home birth midwife.
Before Scheduling The Midwife Consultation:
Get a Notebook!
Get a notebook with pockets and a calendar that you can write in. This will be your journal for your birth plan, your diet log, and a place for all your questions. You will have tons of things that you suddenly need to keep up with. Pregnancy brain is a very real phenomenon, and trust me; you will forget something important if you don't have a central place to keep yourself organized.
Know The Type of Midwife You Want To Hire
Before you even schedule your consultation, read this short article/video to confirm that you are seeking the care from the right type of midwife for you. There is a big difference between birth professionals and their scope of practice. The mass population seems a little unclear about the important distinctions and differences between the many types of midwives, Obgyns, and doulas.
Confirm That You Actually Want a Homebirth With a Midwife
To help yourself figure out if a home birth is right for you watch this video about Why Home Birth is Better Than Hospital Birth and ask yourself these questions:
- What are my core values about birth?
- Do I want a natural birth?
- Why do I want to give birth at home, hospital, or birth center?
- How important is it to me to have a personal relationship with my care provider?
- Am I willing to take personal responsibility and be involved in the decision making for my birth?
- How much am I willing to invest in my birth to have the experience I want for my baby and me? -Sure I'm talking about the birth fees and I'm talking about investments like, how much time am I willing to spend on childbirth education, reading, exercising, eating healthy, communicating?
- Am I willing to go all in?
Now that you feel more clear that you want a home birth and you feel ready to schedule your consultation, download my free template of 50 Questions Ask Your Potential Midwife to get practical and specific questions about your care. These questions will reveal and uncover what you need to know to make an informed decision so you can have a safe and empowering home birth.
25 Questions To Ask A Potential Doula
Scheduling The Consultation:
Make sure you choose a time that your partner can attend. This is critical. Even if your partner trusts you to make the best decision for your body and your birth, they need to be with you at the consultation. If you want them to be present and engaged in this process with you, then they need to be included from the very beginning. Have them write down their own list of questions to ask. They have very different questions, then you do!
If you are single, bring a support person you feel close with and knows you pretty well to process the consultation with them. Ultimately, you need to trust your own ability to discern if this is a good fit for you and at the same time, feedback is really helpful too.
During The Midwife Consultation
During the consultation, you want to make the most out of your time together. I suggest taking your time, enjoy your cup of tea, settle in, make some small talk. That way, you will pick up on nonverbal cues and notice if you enjoy being in their space. Then pretty quickly pull out your notebook and start the conversation. Ask all the questions that are important to you. You might get nervous or excited at the consultation, and you are so focused on asking the questions that you forget to really listen to the answers. Remind yourself to take a deep breath and really listen and absorb the information.
Your midwife will have questions for you too, and she will have a consultation packet ready for you. It will contain all the essential information that you will need to make a decision. Take the packet home and look through it at your own pace.
There should not be any pressure to commit to anything during the consultation. Please, do not schedule your first appointment yet, even if you want to.
After The Consultation, Get a Full Body Yes- Or No!
Go home, process it, meditate on it, pray about it, and sleep on it. How you feel about the meeting the next day is very telling and should be considered when making a decision.
What Is A Full Body Yes vs. No?
You know the feeling when you have something that you are looking forward to. You wake up a little before the alarm; you have energy and a pep in your step. When you look in the mirror, you say to yourself with a smile, "today is going to be a good day!" This is a full-body, yes!
Do you know how you feel when you have something you dread? If you are dreading something when the alarm goes off, you groan and want to pull the blankets back over your head. Looking at yourself in the mirror, you have to convince yourself that you can do it. This is either a full-body, no, or you need more information. There might have been some question that was unclear and needs to be elaborated on.
If in the morning when you wake up, you feel clear and excited to call the midwife back, then that is a full-body yes! Call and schedule your first appointment.
If you wake up feeling unsure or uneasy, then call another midwife and set up a consultation with them. It is very common for potential clients to have consultations scheduled with several midwives.
One of the midwives will be a resonate match. Choosing the right midwife should feel very exciting and hopeful. Trust yourself, your discernment, and intuition. It does not matter if that was your best friends, midwife or if she is the most popular midwife in your community. She is an amazing midwife, just for some reason, it is not a resonate match.
In my years, I have learned to trust this implicitly. There are so many unforeseen events between now and your birth. Who knows, it might not be anything personal, and you might not even know why you didn't connect. But, I can say from a midwife's perspective, when an ideal client didn't pick my care, it used to hurt my ego until I started seeing the gift of the moment. So many times, the day that client gave birth, I was at another birth at the same time. It worked out for the most benevolent outcome for all parties involved.
My Personal Opinions Here-
1- Often, the cheapest midwife is that way for a reason. You get what you pay for.
2- If your midwife does not require a childbirth class for your first homebirth, be prepared for a whole host of things to pop up that create stress that could have been avoided with the appropriate level of realistic preparation. And not taking childbirth classes for your first homebirth, from my perspective, is a lack of good care.
Quick Recap - In Order To Hire The Best Midwife For Your Homebirth:
- Get to know yourself and your core values about birth.
- Make sure you are asking the right type of midwife to offer the birth services you want.
- Be prepared for the consultation with a list of the right questions to ask.
- Bring your partner with you to the consultation
- Please do not assume that all midwives are the same.
- Please do not assume that they will know what you want or will be able to accommodate your wishes.
- Get a full-body yes before you schedule your first appointment.
- If you get a full-body no, get more information by asking her more questions and/or schedule a consultation with other midwives.
Please, don't wait until the last minute to pick your midwife because this process takes time. I want you to be able to take your time, deciding who is the right fit for you and your partner. Your birth is significant and should not be taken lightly. I mean, this is a way bigger deal than planning your wedding! Choosing the right or the wrong midwife can make all the difference in your birth and in the days and years to follow.