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Experiences with UNC Midwives?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello, I'm new on MDC, expecting my first child in May. I am wondering if anyone here could share their experiences positive or negative using the midwife group at UNC.

A bit of background, I very much want to have a natural, intervention-free birth. My husband and I are doing everything we can do prepare our selves for this including taking a Bradley class. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I did not really even look at the birthing center, though now I am starting to think that might have been a better fit for what I am looking for. We made the decision that using midwives in a hospital setting would give us the "best of both worlds." However, I recently had an acquaintance deliver who ended up with more interventions than I would have thought would be the norm with a midwife group.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has experience either with their own delivery or as a doula. I know it's not too late to switch, but I worry about the stress that will cause with dealing with insurance etc.

I'm sorry this is so long. Thanks for any advice!

[Edited to remove friend's story after reading the sticky note at the top of the forum-- sorry, like I said, I'm new!]
post #2 of 19
I have not had a baby there myself, but a friend of mine did. She was induced before her due date (I think they told her that the baby was large) but she had a normal 8lb baby.

But then again, that is only one person. Have you asked them what their protocol is for induction?
post #3 of 19
Is it too late for you to check with the birth center? I had both my boys there and it was fabulous...VERY hands off, very supportive, and no interventions that weren't absolutely needed. I know they book up quick, but you have about 4-5 months left, so there's still a chance they could have an opening.
post #4 of 19
I had a great experience with the UNC Midwives. Deb O'Connell delivered my dd #2, we moved here about 5 months into the pregnancy and we decided to go the hospital with midwife route after the complications with dd #1. I loved all of the midwives in the practice and was able to meet each before having my dd. I did go 2 weeks past my dd and had to be induced and they were very supportive of my trying to go without any meds while on the pitocin. I have all good to say about my experience, if you want, you can pm me and I'll answer any questions. Good Luck.
post #5 of 19
I know you mentioned that you were worried transferring would be too stressful... but you could always go to the birth center tour (which you'd have to do before you transferred anyhow), see what you think, and then decide if you think they are worth the stress. In the meantime you could take your list of concerns and things that are important to you to the UNC midwives and see what their opinions are.
post #6 of 19
I haven't had a baby at UNC yet with the MW...but the midwives are awesome from what I heard. When I did the tour, however, of the L&D rooms it really just reminded me of how hospitalized the birth could be. If you want something more natural I would really look into the birthing center in chapel hill.
post #7 of 19
I had a very nice experience with UNC Midwives. I had an all-natural birth with no interventions of any kind. It was very relaxed and hands-off. There was no IV and no continuous monitoring or anything like that. I listened to CD's, used my birthing ball, and was in the jet tub and shower for quite some time. I liked the comfort of knowing I was in the hospital if there were an emergency.

After the birth, the nursing staff and lactation consultants were great as well. Personally, I really liked being in the hospital where I could get "waited on" for a couple days and get help with figuring out all the stuff that many moms probably already know... how to swaddle, how to change a newborn's diaper, etc. We were brand new to this stuff, so I really liked having the help. They repeatedly asked if we wanted to leave after 1 night and we kept saying no And I was having a LOT of trouble nursing, so I can't say enough about how helpful it was to have 24 hour access to lactation consultants.

That said, for baby #2 I might consider the birth center, now that I've had a newborn and know what I'm doing a bit more. The main reason I would switch is because the birth center has bigger bathtubs. And, unlike UNC, they don't mind if you actually give birth in the tub. The other reason would be that it has a more homey atmosphere. But, I would also be happy choosing the UNC Midwives again.

I would probably schedule a tour of the birth center to check it out and see what you think.
post #8 of 19
OK, I have not personally had experience birthing with them (although I get my well woman at the birth center) but I have a friend who had a fabulous experience with them. I actually have a lot of friends who had good experiences with them but this one particular stands out to me... She ended up transporting from the birth center and delivering at UNC (so, to me her experience covers both place, KWIM?) and her midwife stayed with her, went to bat for her, and made sure every single possibility was exhausted before interventions began.

I, personally, tend toward DEMs/CPMs but if I could not find one of those I would feel 100% comfortable with the UNC midwives.
post #9 of 19

I just want to add, in case someone else comes across this thread, that I used the UNC Midwives after being told that I was ineligible (I "risked out") of the birth center.  I was devastated.  However, I need not have been--the UNC Midwives are awesome.  I had a totally intervention-free birth and wouldn't change a thing about it even if I could.  I said once "I don't want to use meds" when I was admitted, and it was never mentioned to me again.  That said, I have a lot of friends who have used the birth center and all had great experiences there as well.


My only reservation about giving birth at the hospital has to do with the baby's care AFTER birth.  The pediatricians there, I felt, were not great.  They are so trained to be on the lookout for problems that they almost can't just accept a healthy baby.  My son had mild (very mild, borderline) jaundice levels, and they insisted that he spend a night under the lights--which, I think, had long-term implications for us in terms of breastfeeding.  We just couldn't establish breastfeeding very well.  Also, as he lost weight, they started freaking out and after only 1 day tried to convince me to give him donor milk.  I still don't understand this, since my milk wasn't even in yet and everything I've read says that babies are fine for a few days.


If you do end up at the hospital, then, I highly recommend having the baby cared for by the Family Practice doctors, rather than the Pediatricians.  Once we got hooked up with them, everything became much more reasonable and they were GREAT.  Next time around, I don't anticipate any problems so long as we make sure the pediatricians don't get too close.  :)

post #10 of 19

Had baby #2 at UNC with Family Practice and it was as good an experience as a hospital birth can be, I think. redface.gif

One thing that's nice about FP is that they don't work under the OBs, which technically the MWs do.  Even when my VBAC labor was going on and on and the OBs were getting antsy, my FP docs kept them away from me.

And it's great that both the mama and the baby have the same docs. 


My main advice would be to explore all your options (you have plenty of time) and follow your gut instincts.  Ask a lot of questions and pay attention to red flags that come up.  Be picky!  It's your right!!

post #11 of 19

I would add that, though the midwives are technically part of the OB division, I never once heard from an OB.  It is not the case that there will be an OB looking over the midwife's shoulder, though I imagine that they would be consulted should anything go wrong.  (I was in labor for a LONG time, though, and no one ever freaked out or consulted an OB, even though I have a complicated medical history.)

post #12 of 19

No experience with these providers but I just wanted to say that I switched at 22 weeks with my first son from an OB to a midwife group and there was no insurance stress at all. I expected it but the midwife office simply filed my new patient info and I never heard anything from the the old OB's office or my insurance company. Not sure if that's the norm but that was my experience.

post #13 of 19

I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to second what Pinky said about Family Practice.  My first was with UNC Midwives, second with UNC Family Practice.  I have many friends who *love* the Midwives, but for me, Family Practice was way, way more hands-off--what I was hoping for the first time around. I felt totally supported by them.

post #14 of 19

I know this is an old thread, but maybe others are looking for the same information.  We delivered at UNC with the midwives in September 2012.  We switched to the midwives around 18 weeks after a shakey start to my pregnancy. My regular checkups were fine, didn't really seem any different than the doctor though.  I chose the midwives because of their reputation of providing caring, compassionate care and allowing the birthing mother to make informed decisions about her care and delivery and because I was attempting a natural birth.  I feel that our care was in many ways in opposition to this philosophy.  I was having a long labor, started on Friday afternoon with contractions, our doula joined up Saturday night around 10pm and then we got the hospital around 6am on Sunday morning with contractions still not coming regularly.  The midwife, Kathy, who attended us was condescending, impatient, and seemed angry with me most of the time she was in our room.  I was offered morphine to sleep or the option of going back home, I declined both and she told she didn't know what I expected her to do for me then if I didn't want drugs or didn't want to go home. I was given IV fluids and some time and contractions got regular in a few hours.  During the labor she asked me questions about what I was feeling then turned her back to me as I answered and then told me to speak up because she couldn't hear me.  She acted as if she didn't believe when I said I felt pushy.  I was not allowed to make decisions concerning my care, for example delivery position, I had requested a squatting position.   I was made to lay on back.  When I asked for the second time to change positions, the midwife told me that when I could show her I knew how to push on my back I could change positions.  After a few pushes she let me roll onto my side.  I wanted more than anything for baby to come straight to my chest after delivery and it was written in my birth plan.  Baby did not, she was handed straight to the nurses to be dried off and checked out for what seemed like five minutes.  Baby was fine, I never found out why she didn't come to me.  My husband, doula, and mother who all with me during labor and delivery all agreed that the midwife was way out of line.  They all felt had to tiptoe around her and not upset her in order to make it easier on me.   

I really regret choosing the UNC midwives. And I am angry about the way I was treated. I should have asked for another doctor during my delivery I guess. I can't believe that someone who works as a professional midwife would treat a birthing mama that way.

Has anyone else had this experience with this midwife?



post #15 of 19



I am so sorry to hear of your bad experience.  Unfortunately, I cannot say I am too surprised to hear it though.  This is not the first time I've heard that the UNC Midwives are more medical leaning than midwife leaning, in general.  Practicing in a hospital with strict medical protocols rubs off on them, or colors their views, I guess.  I am really sorry that you were not supported by the midwife in your birthing, as that is especially hurtful at such a vulnerable time.  


Hugs to you,


post #16 of 19

Naturestacy, I am so glad that you wrote your post and I'm so sorry you did not have a good experience.  I had a wonderful experience 5 years ago with the UNC midwives but their practice has changed.  So much so, that I've decided to take my chances and switch providers...I just feel like it's the right thing to do.  I had a very difficult time negotiating with one of the midwives over a document I needed her to sign.  It really stressed me out (I thought they are supposed to make things calm for you/help you?)  Another would not answer my questions properly and was very vague.  Obviously, I'm interested in the development of my own baby, but I'm also interested in the process of pregnancy from a scientific or medical perspective, just because I'm curious. 

They also seem to really enjoy writing prescriptions.  I've been offered so many prescriptions for very minor problems (had two migraines...hey, you want a prescription for that?)

post #17 of 19
I saw the unc midwives for the first twenty weeks or so of my pregnancy. I was not happy with my experience at all for a lot of reasons, but mostly just because I got a bad vibe and it felt like a bad fit. I switched to women's birth and wellness and I'm so glad I did, especially after reading this!! I'm so sorry for your bad experience.
post #18 of 19

I don't know if "refreshing" is the right term to apply here, but I have to say that I feel supported on this forum to hear that I am not the only one who had a negative birth experience with the UNC Midwives. I wish I had of switched providers before I had my baby. There are several midwives there that are absolute gems and a few that are not caring and compassionate as they advertise themselves to be. The problem with this is that you are not promised a gem when you are in labor. I totally get the confusion on the part of anyone who has experienced negativity b/c you expect so much more from a midwife. I too experienced the condensension, the impatience, feeling ignored - and I am sorry any of you had to go through that. I think a few of the midwives at UNC need to be sent back to school for bedside and sensitivity training. Without getting into my story, my birth experience was a very tough and rough experience and I do hold them responsible. I will definitely not use them going forward. That's the best part for those who had a bad experience - it's your choice now knowing what you know - don't hold onto it - just move forward and look ahead to the possibility of something better. There is something better out there for you and your family. The Triangle area is full of better possibilities. We are lucky that way.

post #19 of 19

Just a plug for women's birth and wellness.  My experience there was amazing.  Even though all the midwives there weren't my favorite, I felt like I trusted them all even if our personalities were a bad fit.  I also like that they go with you if you need to transfer.  I have also heard really good things about the dept of family medicine (and I see some good things up thread) we have been getting well baby care there and I have really liked that experience, too.

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