I will admit, I didn’t ask my midwife too many poignant questions when I was interviewing her.
It was love at first sight, and I was still blissfully unaware of all the unexpected situations that can arise in even a healthy low risk pregnancy.
Luckily, everything turned out beautifully. We couldn’t have been more happy with our decision to have a home birth and with our wonderful midwife as our care provider.
Looking back on my experience and those of many other women who have shared their stories with me, this is the list of questions I should have asked my midwife when I interviewed her.
Some of these questions I did ask during the interview. Some we asked in later prenatal appointments. Some came up when we were trying to explain our home birth decision to family.
All of these questions are important, and the answers can help clue you into whether a particular midwife or obstetrician will be able to support you through a successful natural birth.
Unforeseen circumstances may arise during your pregnancy or birth. It’s great to have the peace of mind that when they do, you know exactly what to expect from your care provider.
47 Questions to Ask Your Midwife
(Download the free printable at the bottom of this post.)
1. What is your philosophy regarding pregnancy and birth and your role in it?
2. How many births have you attended?
3. What percentage of women successfully have a natural birth under your care?
4. What percentage of women need to transfer to the hospital (if planning a home birth or birth center birth)? What is the typical reason?
5. What percentage of moms end up with a C-section?
6. What percentage of moms end up with an epidural?
7. What percentage of babies are transferred to NICU?
8. What is the mortality rate for moms? For babies?
9. Do you have hospital privileges? At what hospitals?
10. If you have children, what were your birth experiences like?
11. How many midwives or obstetricians are on the team? Who are your assistants? Will I get to meet all of them? What is their experience? Can I be sure that you will attend my birth?
12. Do you deliver breech babies naturally? VBACs? Twins?
13. How many births do you attend per month?
14. What usually happens at prenatal appointments? How many? When? How long are they?
15. Are you available by phone or email for questions?
16. What is your philosophy on weight gain, nutrition, prenatal supplements, and exercise?
17. What factors would risk me out of your practice? How will you help me prevent these?
18. What child birth class do you recommend?
19. What prenatal testing to you encourage?
20. What type of gestational diabetes testing do you typically use?
21. Do you recommend ultrasounds? When? How many?
22. Do you typically do vaginal checks during prenatal appointments? When?
23. What happens if I go past my due date? How late can I be and still birth under your care (if a midwife)?
24. What testing do you do for a late baby? Starting at how many weeks?
25. Do you have any concerns about big babies being birthed naturally?
26. When do you do vaginal checks during labor?
27. What type of monitoring do you do during labor? How often? For how long?
28. Do you routinely use an IV or hep-lock?
29. Are there birth tubs in each room in the birth center? What if one is not available when I’m in labor?
30. Is a water birth available? If not, am I able to push in the tub at all?
31. How long do you recommend I stay in the water at one time? Do I need to get out for monitoring?
32. How many women are under the care of one midwife or doctor at a time? How much will you be with me throughout my labor?
33. Are you comfortable working alongside a doula? Do you have particular doulas you recommend?
34. How long can I labor without induction?
35. When would you recommend induction? Do you use natural induction methods first?
36. How long can I labor without intervention after my water breaks?
37. Who attends a birth? (Students, assistants, nurses, etc.)
38. When do you feel amniotomy is indicated?
39. Can I eat and drink during labor?
40. What’s your process for implementing a family’s birth plan?
41. What positions are available during labor? While pushing?
42. What are reasons you would initiate a transfer to a hospital (if a home birth or birth center birth)?
43. How long do you allow for delivery of the placenta? When do you cut the cord?
Postpartum & Newborn Care
44. What post-partum care do you provide? When? How many appointments? Where?
45. What does newborn care consist of? Under what circumstances would my newborn need to be taken away from me for treatment?
46. Are you comfortable with me declining bathing, vitamin K, heel poke, eye ointment, vaccinations?
47. Can you help me initiate breastfeeding?
The right answers
That was a lot of questions! So you might be asking yourself, what are the right answers? The answer, of course, is different for everyone. In the coming weeks, I’ll break down some of these questions to help you think about the different issues surrounding each one. For much more on preparing for birth, click here to get 3 free chapters of my book Natural Birth Stories: The Real Mom’s Guide to an Empowering Natural Birth.