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!!!
I think it's a good idea to at least call around and speak to care providers early. Although with a HB you may not have your first official prenatal visit until about 12 weeks you may want to have a consultation and settle on a MW and have an appointment with the one you choose so that your favorite MW has space available for you. This may well be true for OBs and hospital birth MWs as well.
As far as seeing both a hospitalbirth care provider and a HB MW and the same time -- there are ways to do that. You could ask an OB if they would be willing to provide "back-up" care. You could also see the OB in secret. I personally wouldn't do that but I think some mothers choose that route.
Congrats on your pregnancy!
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I can only speak of my experience here, but midwifery services here (Ontario) are fully covered by the provincial healthcare, and are extremely popular. My last pregnancy, I was on a waiting list when I called at 6 weeks pg.
This time (and my first pg) I called as soon as I got a BFP and got in the midwifery practice of my choice.
Obviously, this is not the case everywhere, but I agree with PPs that the sooner you get in line with you midwife, the better it is.
Also, do research on whether you can have a midwife assisted birth at a local hospital.
This is the case here, the midwives have access to hospitals (in fact, at the hospital rwhere I'm giving birth and had my dd, there are more midwives practicing there then there are obgyns.)
So you can choose to have a home- or hospital birth even if you have a midwife.
But again, that probably varies alot by location.