Questions for Interviewing a Midwife

A midwife you can trust and feel comfortable with is worth her weight in gold. Birthing a baby is an incredibly personal and intense experience in it’s own right.  Having a professional there to assist you should only offer comfort and help. It’s vital that you find someone that you not only click with, but who you can trust wholeheartedly. Here’s a list of interview questions to start you on your journey to finding your midwife!

A good midwife will be able to speak frankly and to balance your needs/desires with the safety of you and your baby. The midwifery philosophy is generally hands off and more about trusting your body with guidance offered when desired by the mother and medical intervention implemented when required. At the same time they are extremely engaged with you throughout your care with appointments that usually last one hour and covering not only any physical concerns and questions, but also your emotional state as well. A good book to get you started if you’re new to the idea of hiring a midwife is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth or watch The Business of Being Born.

Basics in Determining if a Midwife is Right for You

  1. How long have you been practicing?  How many births have you attended? What are your credentials?
  2. Are you available via phone/text? Specific days/hours you aren’t available?
  3. What is your practice like—are you in practice solo or with other midwives? Are there additional staff like doulas
  4. Is your practice involved in the natural birthing community at all? Are there resources for me to connect with other women?
  5. Do you work with specific OBs? Do you have a good rapport with OBs at the hospital?  How does the hospital view you and your practice?
  6. How many planned births do you accept per month? If you are not available when I go into labor, who is your back-up?
  7. What is your overall philosophy on pregnancy, delivery, and birth?
  8. What do you feel your role is as a midwife?
  9. Where do you attend deliveries? Birth center? Home? Hospital?
  10. How do you feel about water births?
  11. Have you ever lost a baby or mother? What happened?  
  12. What is your hospital transfer rate?
  13. What are your fees? Do you offer payment plans? Accept insurance?

Pregnancy Topics to Cover in Midwife Interviews

homebirth home visit

  1. What screenings and tests do you recommend? Which ones do you offer in house vs send me somewhere else to get?
  2. Have you ever worked with gestational diabetes? What is the process?
  3. What are your views on nutrition and exercise during pregnancy?  Do you offer resources?
  4. Voice specific pregnancy concerns — does she offer good solutions and recommendations?
  5. Do you require a Group B Strep test? What if I test positive for Group B Strep?
  6. If I become “high risk” what is the process? When would I have to transfer to an OB?
  7. What “high risk” situations do you have experience with? Twins? Breech? Advanced maternal age? Pre-eclampsia?

Labor and Delivery Questions When Choosing a Midwife

  1. At what point in labor do you prefer to get involved? When would I call you?
  2. What is your view on VBACs?  What is your success rate?
  3. Potential birth emergencies—what are they and how would you handle each one? Tell me some situations you have dealt with (Hemorrhaging, partial placenta delivery, shoulder dystocia, nuchal cord or limb).
  4. Are you equipped in neonatal resuscitation? How often do you refresh your training in this area? Tell me some experiences.  
  5. What equipment do you bring with you to a delivery?
  6. If my baby is breech before delivery, what would you recommend we try? If it does not turn, would you still deliver?  Have you had experience with this—both successful turning and breech delivery?
  7. In labor do you routinely perform vaginal checks?
  8. In what situation would an episiotomy be performed?
  9. If a labor stalls, what is the process?
  10. If my water breaks, is there a time limit to when I need to deliver by?
  11. In the event that I go past my due date, what is your philosophy and what would be the process?
  12. In the event I had to be transferred to a hospital, what would be the process? Who would drive me? Is there a specific hospital we’d go to? Would you come with me, or stay with me through delivery?
  13. Can you offer me some references from mothers who have had to transfer?
  14. How do you feel about delayed cord clamping?
  15. Can my husband catch the baby? Can I catch my own baby?

Postpartum Questions for your Midwife

evidence based ob

  1. What postpartum care do you offer (herbal baths, sleep in the bed, meals served, massage)?
  2. What newborn care do you provide?
  3. Do you offer newborn testing? Do you require it?
  4. If I deliver at a birth center, how long would I stay there afterward?
  5. Do you make postpartum home visits? When?
  6. Will you offer breastfeeding support?
  7. Do you offer placenta encapsulation?
  8. When will I switch over to pediatrician care for my baby?
  9. Can I continue to see you for annual well-woman visits?

Question to Ask Yourself After the Visit

Overall, what general feeling do you have after talking with the midwife? How does your partner feel? A good sign would be connection, feelings of excitement, trust, and calm. Uneasiness, trepidation, or uncertainty are good clues that you should continue looking.

When you are thorough with research and questions, your gut feeling can really carry a lot of weight. Trust your judgement.

This guest post was written by Austyn Smith.

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