I am about 6 weeks pregnant and am back and forth between idea of a home birth vs. hospital. My first ultrasound isn't schedule for another few weeks. When is the optimal time to get aligned with a midwife and has anyone gone down the path with both in case they want to change their birth plan close to due date?! Thanks!!!
When is it best time to look into midwife/home birth vs. hospital birth?
My homebirth midwives started seeing me at 12 weeks along each time, that's pretty standard, and getting interviews done if you're meeting them before any checkups is good before that, somewhere 8-12 weeks along. If it turns out to be a busy due month for her you *might* have trouble booking her way later, best to at least get in touch early on.
I never had both a hb midwife and a hospital care provider in the same pregnancy but I suppose you could start with the doctor or cnm's normal schedule of appointments and go ahead with the hb midwife with their normal schedule (or a more flexible one) until you made a firmer choice or all the way through to the birth. In some states you can't really mention your plans of a homebirth to a hospital care provider and have to pretend your choice is them 100%. Often moms with minor health concerns or worried about a transfer will have shadow care with a doctor while also seeing a home midwife, they plan on the homebirth but build a relationship with a doctor in case they have complications beyond the midwife's scope at any point.
Ask lots of questions of both your options asap, the answers and experience you have talking and getting checked on with them should clarify which sort of prenatal care and birth experience you'd be most comfy with. You might actually like the added care and balance of more time and talking and all around care with the midwife and more in depth clinical testing with the hospital care provider. You might find one or the other extraneous and not your style at all. The birth is big and important but also focus on the months you'll spend being pregnant in the meantime. And the model of care you like prenatally will probably show you pretty quickly what you'll like for the birth too.
Says she who didn't find a homebirth midwife until about 17 wks
I was warned that midwives book up quickly. I contacted mine this week. I'm 4 wks +5 at the moment. If you think you may want a homebirth, start looking and interviewing.
I'm going to be seeing mine around 8 weeks along. So, just so you know, it depends on the midwife and when you've contacted one for when you start care. Typically, it'll be between 8 and 12 weeks if you are starting care with them from the beginning, but the interview needs to take place before that.
I've been trying to to figure this one out too, but I figured that it would be better to start early with finding a HB midwife. They can be hard to find, and like pp's said, they can book FAST. I just interviewed a HB midwife today (it was awesome!). I would do it ASAP...you can always change your mind if you decide to go with a hospital birth, but it will be much harder to go the other way.
In terms of seeing both, the MW I interviewed usually has her clients meet with the OB from the Hospital that we would transfer to if problems arose. And, she can refer me to that practice to get my labs done, since insurance will definitely cover it coming from them. This way I will have a relationship (or at the very least have met) the OB if we need to transfer, plus they will have my charts and all of my info. And, we won't have to double pay.
There is a ton of variation in terms of care between MW's, so it would be best to dive in sooner rather than later. Good Luck!!
ETA: I got in touch with the MW for an interview at about 5 weeks, and we just met now and I am 9.5 weeks. She would start regular appointments at about 12 weeks.