What do YOU want / expect / need from your midwife? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 04-16-2012, 02:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Mummas,


The title pretty much says it all.

My husband and I will be meeting with midwives for the first time.

I have looked through all the lists of questions, and now I suppose its about figuring out exactly what I am looking for in their answers.

So I wanted to see what YOU look for in YOUR midwives.

Hearing other preferences should help me figure out my own a little more finely!


TIA Mummas!!

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#2 of 5 Old 04-19-2012, 02:35 AM
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Have you read Navelgazing Midwife's blog? She has a list of questions she thinks you should ask on her blog, but I don't know what the title of that particular entry was. It shouldn't be too hard to find though. :)


Personally, I'm very interested in their education and experience, and I don't think it's something you should feel bad asking about. I also want to know what she'll do in different situations. For instance, what about a breech birth? I won't go into my exact personal preferences, because that will just start a debate that's irrelevant to this discussion, but I do NOT want a midwife to tell me she will attend a breech birth under every circumstance, for every woman. For me, I feel more comfortable with a midwife who is slightly conservative, but not overly so (all in my estimation of things, of course - what I think is "conservative" might seem radical to someone else, and vice versa). I think you really ought to consider what things you think a midwife should risk a woman out for, because if the woman you're talking to says she does not risk out for those things, it might be an indicator that she practices in a way that you consider risky, and you might not be comfortable with other things she does either. On the other hand, you might find that she's more conservative than you like, which could mean she'd risk you out over something you don't think should be a big concern.


I want to know that she's going to come when I think I need her. Personally, I am not impressed by stories that involve a woman calling her midwife and asking her to come, only to have the midwife tell her that she (the laboring woman) doesn't sound like she really needs anyone yet, so the midwife is not coming yet. Now, I did call my midwife when my labor first started, but it was up to me whether or not she came - I told her I didn't need anyone yet, not the other way around. I would be very upset if someone told me I didn't need them yet. That's just me though. I feel like if I believe I need her, she should come. I know other people feel differently. You should consider how you feel about that.


It's the late here and my brain is getting foggy, but that's what I immediately thought of. :)




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#3 of 5 Old 04-20-2012, 03:11 AM
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I like to just chat and see how we mesh together.

I usually e-mail a list of technical questions first and then have a meeting to see how we get along.


I like to know how much autonomy they feel comfortable giving me.  

Are they comfortable with my choices of little to no tests?

Are they comfortable being as hands off as possible during labour and delivery?

Are they comfortable with me or my DH catching?


I also try to ask open ended questions so that I can get answers in their own words and not just yes or no answers.


I also like to know what hospital they transfer to if they need to transfer.

Also, under what circumstances do they feel a transfer is necessary.


oh, and do they like pets (cause we have a dog).  :)



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#4 of 5 Old 04-20-2012, 05:07 PM
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I found it most helpful to have a detailed list of questions I wanted the answers to (2 pages long), but then also to ask open-ended questions.  Rather than asking for each specific detail of their practice, ask what their birth philosophy is.  Ask how a typical birth might go with them.  Ask the broader questions, and let them talk.  Ask about their favorite birth, or their scariest birth.  You'll get answers to a lot of your questions, and also get a better feel for the MWs. When you get to the end of your conversation, look over your list of questions and see which ones haven't been answered yet - ask just those at that point.  I've found that most of my questions get answered just during conversation, so I wind up asking maybe 4 or 5 questions, usually about cost/billing/etc. 


For me the big questions I had to have answers to were what their requirements were for testing, and whether I could avoid the GTT and the GBS screening.  I've interviewed over a dozen MWs between 3 pgs and only 1 ever expressed that she required the testing.  As for training/education, some of that is going to depend on your location and the requirements for practice.  Here I know by the letters behind their name what their training is, so it's not as necessary for me to ask those questions, that would be different in an area where MWs are not regulated.  But it can be helpful to ask how they got into MW. 


Mostly I recommend that mamas listen to their bodies during these interviews.  Are you comfortable and relaxed with this woman?  Are you tense and feeling distracted by something she's doing?  Are you feeling uncomfortable in her presence?  Are you feeling like you could ask/tell her anything, or are you wondering how much is safe to tell?  Can you make/maintain eye contact?  These are very important clues to whether or not you can work well together.  Don't hire a MW you're not totally comfortable with.  Don't hire one that you couldn't tell anything, or ask anything.  It is no reflection on you or on her if your personalities don't work well together.  I've interviewed partners where I felt completely comfortable with 1 of the MWs and not at all with the other.  That's not a good fit, since you can't predict who will be on call when you go into labor. 


With DS I hired an older MW, one who had a bit of a grandmotherly feel to her.  And then I discovered that I couldn't stand up to her because of my own authority issues.  So this time around I hired someone closer to my own age.  Someone who is still an authority figure, but not someone I would have difficulty standing up to just because of her age/experience.  So be aware of your own personality issues also. 


If you are concerned about breech or twins, ask the question.  If they will attend it, ask about their experience with it (you don't want an inexperienced MW for either one).  Around here there are maybe 2 MWs who will attend a breech, and we have a LOT of MWs around here.  It's just so rare anymore that most will never see it.  But many MWs will volunteer info about turning breech babies with this question, and that's also important. 


Ask about referrals.  Is she comfortable working with other professionals?  My MW with DS didn't give me a referral to a chiro or an IBCLC when she should have.  This time I got a list of them upfront from this MW (her standard practice).  Not being able/willing to work with other professionals or refer to others who may be able to help you better is a big red flag to me.  No one person can do it all. 


Ask about labor support.  Around here that is not the role of the MW.  If you need labor support, you have to hire a doula or find a friend to do it.  I didn't know that with DS, and that was an important detail.  I was in labor 5 days, and the MWs only showed up for the last 20-ish hours of it.  And my DH was not much help by that point (exhausted).  I *really* needed a doula, so this time I'll have one. 


If you have insurance, ask if she works with insurance.  All the MWs I interviewed will bill the insurance company through a billing service after the fact.  But you're still responsible for the $$ up front - this is an important distinction for some people.  Around here none of them will pursue the insurance company, that's on you.  But they're more than happy to do the paperwork.  I also got a list of questions to call and ask the insurance company so I could know what to expect as far as reimbursement. 




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#5 of 5 Old 04-20-2012, 06:29 PM
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personality and philosophy match are biggies for me. being comfortable talking to this person, knowing they are going to help you make the best decisions for you. knowing they will be as hands off or hands on as you need them to be during labor (hard to know ahead of time what you'll need, but maybe you have some idea of the birth you're picturing) 

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