Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Midwife

Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Midwife

Be in control of your birth and trust your midwife! 

I went out for you and asked a local midwife Hannah AH Teasley, CNM some basic questions for you!

She is the owner of Hive Midwifery and Women’s Health, Located in Ashland, Oregon. 

Here is Hannah’s story in her own words…

“I was 16 years old when I witnessed my first niece being born. From that moment on—I was hooked. I wanted to be the midwife that caught that squiggly, chunky baby. I wanted to hand the greatest gift in someone’s life to them and feel the pure energy that passes from my hands to theirs.

The next 13 years of my life were driven by the desire to be those hands.

For 6 years I’ve had the honor and privilege to do just that.

I’ve witnessed births in homes, birth centers, and hospitals, and each one has been a true joy and miracle.

I love not only prenatal care and birth, but I love well-women care as well. I love educating about birth control, discussing healthy ways to start a family, and yes, I even enjoy talking about the less glamorous side of it all (vaginal discharge).

My family and I moved to Oregon looking to build roots in a community that we want to raise our son in, and we found it. Once we got here, I realized that southern Oregon is screaming for more options regarding prenatal care and the births that are offered. It has been my dream since I witnessed my first niece being born to open my own home birth/birth center, and I believe that here is the place, and now is the time. I hope you agree.
I look forward to going on this journey with you all.

Lovingly, Hannah

I am sure most midwives hear this a lot lately during their midwifery consultations, especially from first-time parents who are still exploring their options and aren’t totally sure what they are looking for in a provider. Many people know that the Midwifery Model of Care is different from standard hospital care, but aren’t certain if this means that all midwives are pretty much the same or if there is more they might need to know in order to select a provider that they can trust. 

There are some standard questions that you should be asking ANY care provider (midwife or not). Things like:

“What is your cesarean section rate?”

“How do you approach the use of tools and interventions in the labor process? What is your philosophy on this?”

“What are your routine newborn procedures immediately following the birth (skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, newborn exam, etc)?”

These are awesome questions to ask and a big part of what you want to talk about during your consult. 

BUT there are also some midwife-specific questions that are super helpful and may help you narrow down your search so that you can be sure of selecting a midwife and practice that is a good fit for you:

Do you practice as a solo midwife or in a team? How does that work?

I practice as a solo midwife. This means that I am the only midwife that the client sees throughout her pregnancy. 

How long have you been a midwife? In what kinds of settings have you practiced?

I have been a midwife for 6.5 years now. I have been in healthcare for over 11 years. 

I have worked in the home birth, birth center, hospital, and clinic setting

What kind of training did you receive to become a midwife? How long did it last?

I have my bachelors degree in Global Health. I have my second bachelors degree in Nursing. I have my Masters degree in midwifery. My midwifery program took me 2.5 years to complete. This is about 2 years of course work and then an intense 6 months of clinical work. 

At what point in your life’s journey did you inspire to become a midwife? Why did you become a midwife?

I was at the birth of my oldest niece almost 20 years ago. She was born at a birth center in Knoxville, TN (which closed about 3 years ago). I was 16yo, at that moment, I knew I had to be a midwife. 

How do you prefer to communicate with your clients?

Any format is fine. 

What is your philosophy on doula support during labor?

I am supportive of doula support during labor, if this is what the laboring woman desires. It is her show, she can have whomever she desires there. 

What is your episiotomy rate? 0

What kinds of medications or tools do you have access to in case of an emergency? What kinds of trainings did you have to take to become competent in using these tools?

I have CPR and NRP training. As a nurse, I utilized many of these tools in the hospital setting daily. 

I carry oxygen, oxygen masks, hemorrhage medications, IV equipment. 

What interventions/treatments/tools do you NOT use or have available?

I do not have epidural or any medications for pain management. I do not intubate. 

What natural herbs or treatments tools do you use or have available? 

Multiple types. Different oils, mainly.

for pain management: water, tennis ball, massage…

What is your transfer rate during labor? 

What is your protocol for non-emergency transfers to the hospital? For emergency transfers?

Discussion with the client and her support. If during labor and mom is stable and baby is stable, then she is able to go in her own car and I will follow. If emergency, then 911 will be called. A report will be given to hospital prior stating we will be transferring there. Report will be given to accepting physician. 

What hospitals/care providers have you had positive experiences with?

Do you have references? yes

What “extra” or surprise costs might we encounter while in your care?

No surprise costs, everything is discussed at first visit and when financial agreement is signed. 
Extra costs: tub rental, PKU card, rhogam shot (if needed), list of birth supplies (typically around $50). 

Here are 40 questions you can ask your midwife or provider!

1. How long have you worked as a midwife?

2. What is your training? For example is their title CNM, CM, CPM, etc.

3. What is your birth philosophy? What inspired you to become a midwife?

4. How many home births have you performed?

5. How many births do you attend each month?

6. Do you work alone or in a team during labor?

7. What is the total cost of care? And what is included?

8. Is any portion of the cost refundable if care is transferred to an OB at any point prior to the birth?

9. Have any of your clients been successful at recovering all or portions of your charges through their health insurance plans? (Typically this only applies to PPOs)

10. Do you work with a service to help clients with insurance claims?

11. Do you recommend working with a doula?

12. Do you provide nutritional support during pregnancy and labor?

13. What is your experience with herbs, homeopathy, and alternative medicine as pregnancy and labor support?

14. Do you offer or suggest taking childbirth preparation courses?

15. Do you provide and/or require any pregnancy screenings? (First and second-trimester genetic screenings, gestational diabetes, Group B Strep, etc).

16. Do you routinely check glucose and protein levels via urine samples at visits?

17. Under what circumstances would prenatal care need to be transferred to an OB?

18. How do you maintain client medical records? Electronically and/or written?

19. If you are unable to attend my birth for any reason, who will attend in your place?

20. What happens in the case where two clients are laboring simultaneously?

21. What equipment do you bring to the birth?

22. Do you have a birth kit for purchase and if not will you work with me to assemble one?

23. Do you have any preferences regarding how many people attend the birth?

24. At what point during my labor will you come to my home? When should I call you?

25. What tools do you use to monitor the baby during labor and after their birth?

26. Do you facilitate water births? And do you supply the birth pool?

27. What is your hospital transfer rate?

28. What is the most common reason for hospital transfer?

29. If I must have a preterm or post-term hospital birth, will you be present to offer support?

30. Do you carry oxygen?

31. Do you carry Pitocin in the rare case of hemorrhaging after birthing?

32. What do you do in the case of a nuchal cord?

33. Are you trained in infant resuscitation?

34. Have you ever lost a baby or a mother? If so, under what circumstances?

35. What is level of perineum tearing, if any, do you suture? Do you transfer to the hospital for any particular levels of tearing?

36. Under what circumstances, if any, do you perform episiotomies?

37. How long will you and/or your support team stay with mom and baby after the birth?

38. How many postpartum visits are offered under your care and on what days do these visits occur?

39. Is breastfeeding support offered?

40. Do you have any references available for contact?