Before becoming pregnant I always knew I wanted a natural birth. From way back when, watching TLC shows like A Baby Story (when I was a pre-teen lol) I knew I DID NOT want an epidural. Take it a step further, I always thought I wanted a water birth. Fast forward to finding out I was pregnant, my doctor (who discovered I was pregnant before I did) told me to set up an appointment with an OB. The first thing I researched, however, was having a midwife and what that entailed.
Now I’m about 7 months pregnant (check out my journey on Instagram) and I’ve had a midwife through the entire pregnancy. My mom has no experience with them nor has she ever had a natural birth so here are some pointers I have should you choose a midwife.
Tips to Make the Most of Your Midwife Appointments
Don’t Listen to Naysayers
Living in the US, we have become conditioned to think of child birth as an unbearable medical procedure. We dread it, and some people jump at the first mention of an epidural. If you’re reading this post, it’s likely you don’t think that way.
When you say that you want a natural child birth these people will laugh at you and make remarks under their breath. They’ll tell you that you don’t know what your getting yourself into and how quickly you’ll change your mind when in labor. They’ll scuff at the mention of a water birth like you think you’re better than they are. These people are not good for.
The best way I’ve found to deal with these people is not to! Let them know you’ll figure that out when you get there but your PLAN is a natural birth. If they love and support you, they’ll leave at that. Why are you discussing your birth plan with someone that doesn’t anyway, right?
Ask Lots of Questions
For crying out loud, make a list! I can’t tell you how many appointments I went to unprepared and unable to think of questions on the spot. I didn’t get smart until my last appointment where I made a list of everything that crossed my mind. Dumb question, smart question, any question, ask it!
That’s their job: to answer your questions. Most appointments go fairly quickly and you pay a lot of money to be in and out in 20 minutes. Here’s a list of my personal questions at my 29 week appointment:
- Does Becky do deliveries?
- What is her price?
- Does Becky do pediatrics (can I choose her as a doctor after birth)?
- Pediatrician recommendations?
- How many people can be in delivery room during labor?
- Are all 3 labor visitors allowed to be present during delivery?
- Call in prescription for breast pump?
- Can you write a note for work accommodations?
- Will there be anymore ultrasounds?
- Is a water birth available? If not, am I able to push in the tub at all?
- Are there birth tubs in each room in the birth center? What if one is not available when I’m in labor?
Know Your Options
Midwives are notoriously known for home births. However, not every natural or water birth is a home birth and not every midwife is the same.
If your hospital is anything like mine there are multiple midwives, all registered nurses, who could potentially bring your baby into the world. For me, there’s six. You can choose to have an appointment with each to get to know them, or have all of them with one. I personally really like one, which is why a lot of my questions are asking about her.
My hospital also doesn’t allow midwives to do home births. This wasn’t a problem for me because I don’t have the space for a birthing pool and my bathroom isn’t really birthing ready.
Also, there’s no birthing center for mothers that choose natural birth. I’ll be at the same hospital as all the other mothers, which I actually appreciate. If, God forbid, something were to go wrong I have access to all the doctors in the facilities and not just my registered nurse. This also is convenient if I cannot have a vaginal birth so that I do not have to change locations.
Know that you also reserve the right to change your mind. As long as you aren’t too far into labor, you can request to have an epidural even if you’ve gone your whole pregnancy saying otherwise.
Work At Your Own Pace
I am a planner-aheader if I ever seen one (haha I know it isn’t a word). I am the type of person that gets so annoyed and anxious under last minute pressure. If it was up to me, everything would’ve been done the second I found out. I cannot stand being unprepared and leaving things out. This is the main reason I already have my Hospital Packing List ready and at the 34-week (possibly sooner) mark I will be packing that bag!
If you like to plan ahead, make that clear with your midwife. They should have no problem going over your birthing plan with you at any point in your pregnancy. If they do, try to find another one! They should be your biggest cheerleader and have no problem helping where they can.
On the other hand, if you’re a last minute person, I recommend listening to their advice when it gets closer to the end. The fact that you’ll start meeting with them more frequently will likely motivate you, but if you’d rather wait the choice is yours. You can really go into a healthy, timely labor anytime past the 37-week mark and should prepare for such.