Friday, November 1, 2013

Interested in Homebirth? Here are some important questions to ask.

Home birth is on the rise in the United States, according to these stats from the CDC's NCHS Data Brief published in January 2012. This is great news! While home birth is not for everyone, for those that are interested there are specific questions that need to be asked while interviewing midwives for home delivery. I have found some great compilations online addressing the questions for home birth midwives, but have not found one that I think asks everything important to me. So, for those interested, here are what I would ask!

The safety questions
1. What kind of education and/or training have you done to become a midwife?
2. What is your transfer rate? What are reasons you would choose to transfer to hospital? Will you stay with mother if transfer is necessary?
3. Tell me about your experience, and births attended. I would specifically want to know about certain situations that arise and how they handle it. (examples: long pushing phase, surprise breech baby, posterior baby, nuchal hand, meconium, malpositioned baby, non-reassuring heart tones, stillborn, etc)
4. What emergency equipment do you carry, and can you describe situations these might need to be used in?
5.  Talk to me about your client load, and area of service.
6. How do you feel about pre-term or post-term dates? What do you consider a safe time period? What would you suggest should this situation arise? 
7. Who is your backup, what are her credentials, and how far is she? Do you have a doctor back-up?
8. What neonatal resuscitation trainings have you attended? How long ago?

Birth philosophy questions
1. Why did you become a midwife?
2. What is your personal stance on birth in general (your philosophy)? 
3. Talk to me about the legality of home birth in this state, and how you feel about it.

The other important questions
1. How many times will we meet during my pregnancy?
2. How will my partner get involved?
3. Do you welcome a doula?
4. How do you feel about the procedures/tests I do or do not want done during my pregnancy?
5. What are my pain relief options at home? What about comfort measures?
6. What are your fees? What does that include? 

Honestly, I have found the really good midwives end up answering all your questions before you even get to them. I think it is important to come prepared, and sometimes ask the hard questions to make sure you feel comfortable and assured. I know there are tons of other questions to ask.
What are some questions you might add to this list?