coverage will depend on what state you are in and what plan you have. You can call and ask what is the policy on in-network and out-of-network coverage for licensed midwives. my ppo covered 60% of my HB (#2). that was in california. They said nothing about MW in their policy, but when I read it carefully, they said that "doctor" refers to any licensed medical professional operating within their license (I/E a licensed midwife, a nurse-practitioner, etc)
If you are not totally sure you want a HB, or, if you want "shadow care" that is easier to cover with your insurance, then you can look at what hospitals are in network, and whether there are midwives on staff there, and whether they have a birth center. You can call free-standing birth centers (if you have one) and ask what insurance they take. the same PPO covered my birth center birth (#1) at almost 100% b/c it was in-network.
With both of my previous pregnancies, I couldn't even get an OB/CNM appt until I was almost 12 weeks. I think its pretty normal to do a dating ultrasound and a butt-load of bloodwork. Also a pelvic exam. Weigh and measure you. Crazy amounts of blood tests! Like vial after vial. they test you for every STD known to man, as well as Rh factor (matters later if they will recommend rhogam or not) There are also some earlier blood tests you can get now that show risks for genetic abnormalities or other things that are not normal with pregnancy hormone levels.
You can take a good quality pre-natal vitamin without a doc or MW telling you to do that :) I heard that it is sometimes better for folks to take it at night and that is true for me (less gag reflex, also supposed to help morning sickness to take the b-complex vitamins at night for some reason?) I also take DHA, vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium (and separate the mag and cal into different times of day). My midwife for #2 suggested it, the CNMs and OBs at the hospital practice never gave me much practical info on supplements or diet.
they will continue to check you for growth of the baby, protein in your urine, and heart rates at OB appointments. MW can do this too. There are more screenings depending on the practitioner (and your health insurance coverage).
I did "shadow care" with the hospital-based MWs (CNMs) for my homebirth baby. HB MW billed my insurance just for birth and pp care- and the insurance covered the prenatal care with the CNMs (I saved my insurance company a TON of money this way, not that they thanked or rewarded me in any way, of course). I saw the OB/CNM practice partly b/c it would be better to be an established patient at a good hospital IF I became high risk and needed to be with them. Also it was partly b/c they could write me prescriptions (for blood glucose meter strips-- I had gest diabetes and those strips are SO EXPENSIVE, I was doing very successful diet control and needed to test often to tweak the diet). And they could do tests that would be covered by my insurance. That said, they wanted to do WAY more tests than I was comfortable with and I had to constantly sort of refuse and negotiate that with them, which was annoying and stressful. Also, it meant double the time spent at appointments which was kind of annoying.
With this (#3) I will see what I do. I am likely to be on medicaid and not sure how that will work with "shadow" care or getting tests and doctors. So I might just use a clinic for any medical screening that the midwife cannot provide. I will also let my MW guide me on some of the decisions- as I am very sure I want to have a HB again.
FWIW my HB Midwife was very against Tums. I don't really remember the reason. I didn't have heartburn so it never really came up. I know she suggested using enzymes to help digestion, adjusting diet and frequency of eating (diet logging to figure out what might be triggering heartburn), and using things like peppermint and ginger tea.
Hope this helps! Start finding the right practitioner for you, figuring out as you go along the financial piece, and at least the OB/CNM practice I saw for my mainstream care never seemed in any sort of rush to see me in early pregnancy.