Midwives are experts in caring for normal, healthy pregnancies and facilitating skilled, client-focused prenatal care. Prenatal care appointments are usually 1 hour long and involve all routine checks for growth and health in mom and baby, with the option of all standard screening tests, bloodwork, ultrasounds, and regular monitoring. Most bloodwork is drawn during your appointments, and any other tests may require a referral to a specialist. In the event of a developing complication, midwifery care is smoothly transferred to specialists we have a close relationship with. Appointments may be in the client’s home or the midwife’s office.
The initial appointment with a midwife is usually 2 hours long and may involve a physical exam, a full medical history and a deeper exploring of your hopes, dreams, sexuality, family experience, and grounding in your body and pregnancy. Clients typically start their prenatal care in the first trimester, usually between 8-12 weeks of pregnancy. Clients are seen monthly to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Between 28-36 weeks of pregnancy, clients are typically seen twice a month. Between 37 weeks and the birth of the baby, clients are seen weekly (or more, as needed). Most clients have between 12-18 visits throughout their pregnancy, depending on their timing and specific needs.
Most prenatal visits will include:
- discussion of changing symptoms, transitions, and feelings in the body and psyche
- discussion of adjustment to pregnancy and parenting
- discussion of relationship with partner (if applicable), family (if applicable), friends, and other supporters throughout the pregnancy, as well as family adjustment including other siblings (where applicable)
- sharing of local resources and recommendations to enhance comfort and ease of adjustment to pregnancy and parenting
- physical checks of blood pressure, pulse, temperature, urine, fundal height (belly growth), weight, baby’s hart rate, baby’s position, overall growth
- regular monitoring for common complications
- discussion of birth location, birth plan, etc.
- discussion of postpartum planning, childbirth education, breastfeeding care (where applicable)
Labor and Birth Support
For most people, the focus of midwifery care is on the holistic options offered for labor and birth support. Midwives are experts in facilitating normal, natural childbirth in the out-of-hospital setting and are ideal care providers for individuals and families looking to have a homebirth or birth-center birth. Most births can safely and beautifully take place in a comfortable, familiar setting to the client, and the peace afforded by offering skilled care during the momentous occasion of childbirth in a calm, personal setting is unmatched. Midwives are known for their encouragement of movement, eating, drinking, and relaxation during labor, as well as natural pain-coping techniques without the use of epidurals/drugs. Many clients in midwifery care choose to labor and give birth in the water. Many clients choose to have their partner or other trusted loved one “catch” the baby, or “catch” the baby themselves.
Midwives are known for their focus on non-intervention and letting the body take its natural course in childbirth. At a deep level, midwives know and trust the inherent safety and physiology of birth that has brought us into the world for thousands of years. Regular monitoring throughout labor can alert us to any unusual complications, and when necessary, we can transfer to a hospital for emergency or pain-relief care. However, this is rarely necessary. We never hesitate to transfer a client for specialized medical care when needed, but our rates of clients that end up with hospital interventions or cesarean sections are low.
Midwives carry with them a full set of supplies to every birth, including everything needed for regular monitoring, standard medications for complications, IVs, suturing supplies, resuscitation supplies, herbs and homeopathic treatments, and most things needed for basic set-up and clean-up of the home. Clients will be given a list of basic things to provide the midwives well before the due date. Clients can expect minimal disruption to their home after the birth, as midwives and assistants take care of all clean-up, help set the family up for comfort and breastfeeding, start laundry, and often prepare a meal for everyone after the birth.
When birthing with a midwife, expect reverence, support, patience, love, and honoring of your individual, often sacred experience. Our care is un-rushed, gentle, and deeply caring of your transition into parenthood.
Postpartum and Breastfeeding Care
Midwifery care doesn’t end with the birth of the baby, but rather continues to support the new parent(s), baby, and community for at least six weeks into the postpartum period. Postpartum visits are offered in the client’s home for ease and comfort in the tender early postpartum time. Families are seen 3-4 times in the first week after birth, as needed, twice a week in weeks 2-3 postpartum, and weekly from weeks 4-6 postpartum. Supporting this transition time is the culmination of of deeply bonded midwifery care. When possible and reasonable, families are encouraged and fully supported to breastfeed their babies. Any early, common breastfeeding issues can be supported by the midwife, and referrals for lactation specialists are on-hand.
Common topics covered in the early postpartum period include:
- regular newborn care, personalized to the baby and family’s needs
- changing body and psyche of the parent(s)
- physical checks of blood pressure, pulse, temperature, urine, blood loss, bodily healing, and lactation of parent
- physical checks of systems, growth, weight, and feeding of baby
- discussion of changing relationship with partner (if applicable), family (if applicable), friends, and other supporters in their adjustment to supporting the new family.
- sharing of local resources and recommendations to enhance comfort and ease of adjustment to parenting, including support groups, breastfeeding communities, etc
- any concerns about feeding the baby
- emotional support and screening for postpartum mood changes
- transitioning sexuality and planning of future birth control and pregnancies
- and more...