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Choosing a Midwife for Your Ideal Birth

Welcome and congrats on your pregnancy!

Erica & Ashleigh in a home visit

Have you already decided that you'd like to plan a birth center or home birth with a midwife, or are you still exploring all models of care?

Are you a little (or a lot) overwhelmed with options for out-of-hospital midwives in your area and struggling to settle on a provider?

Have you already begun to envision your ideal pregnancy, birth & postpartum but don't know where to start?

Are you feeling a bit disenchanted by the practice you've already entered into care with?

If you've answered 'yes' to any of the above, we're so glad you're here!

A THREEPEAT client freshly postpartum

Let this guide assist you in choosing a midwife; We'll be providing you with a ton of info, thoughtful questions and how to spot red flags with potential midwifery practices. So buckle up, friend. We've polled our own social media, previous clients & fellow birth workers for their favorite questions to ask providers along with their personal red-flags & deal breakers for midwives and have thoughtfully curated this how-to for interviewing your local midwives.

Here in the Tampa Bay Area, we have an actual TON of midwives serving the community. Many own home birth practices and we have a handful of birth centers to choose from.

"Where do I begin?"

It is helpful - but not imperative - that you have an idea of what you want and need out of birth. Do you want to lean on natural/homeopathic remedies during pregnancy, birth or postpartum? How do you feel about ultrasounds and other standard testing? Are you open to testing but desire alternative treatments? Would you like to labor or birth in the water? Do you want to catch or have your partner catch your baby? How do you want to feed your baby?? Again, knowing the answer to these questions ahead of time can help you, but it's not mandatory to know before you start looking into midwives. Maybe you are lucky enough to have known someone who had an out-of-hospital birth and they've given you a referral. But just because you've been given a referral, doesn't mean they're the right midwife for you.

Erica showing a dad how to feel his baby's position

I highly recommend looking at reviews as well and if specific midwives are being mentioned. Some practices that have been around for a long time, may not still employ the midwives that brought them many years of fabulous reviews. And then how have the reviews changed since those midwives left the practice?

A good-bye photo as we discharge from a beautiful birth

When contacting some practices for consultations, have a few "screening" questions at the ready. These should be your deal-breaker items. It's best if they are communicated up front to eliminate those practices so no one's time is wasted. These questions can be related to cost of care, BIPOC & LGBTQIA+ safety, religious affiliations (if this is important to you), back-up arrangements, etc. Again, save your bigger questions for the interview, these should be asked to ensure you feel comfortable moving ahead with scheduling the interview. Some practices could get frustrated answering many questions before the consult - to which I somewhat understand not wanting to give away too much info or spend too much time on someone who ultimately may not hire you. HOWEVER, if you're made to feel like a burden before you even hire them... how do you think you'll be made to feel throughout the entirety of your care?

"How many midwives should I interview?!"

Ashleigh sitting with another THREEPEAT family who is enjoying a sneak peak at their baby

It's extremely beneficial to interview 3 or 4 midwives before you make your decision and even then, once you start care, you may find yourself feeling like things are not going to go the way you thought they were during the consultation. Meeting with less than 3 midwives/practices, may not provide you with enough information and meeting with more than 5 could actually muddy the waters for you. Sticking to your top 3 or 4 practices and thoroughly screening them (that's right, they're working for you!) will assist you the best so you may find the best-suited midwife, for the birth you've come to envision.

"I've scheduled my consultations, what do I do now?!"

Once you've scheduled your midwife consultations and the time arrives for your meeting(s), please use some or all of the questions in the images below and feel free to download!!

"What other red flags should I look out for?"

We've compiled several red flags from other members in the birth community along with previous clients and our followers on Instagram. We hope these allow you to recognize if you are meeting with a midwife or group who isn't exactly turning out to be what you were hoping for... or quite the opposite! These questions & tips could allow you to lock in the exact midwife you've been searching for.

Be on the lookout for practices that claim they are extremely busy, but don't really have enough midwives. Some solo midwives are comfortable taking up to 10 due dates per month on their own and others like a smaller cap such as 2-6 due dates per month.

Camryn & Ashleigh after Royce's birth

Tune in to micro-aggressions a midwife may say to you during your consultation. For example... When Ashleigh and her wife Camryn were trying to get pregnant, they went through several rounds of in-utero insemination (IUI), without a successful pregnancy. This process is SUPER expensive! They ultimately asked Camryn's uncle to provide a sample for them to do at home IUI with and it WORKED! Ashleigh & Camryn met with a midwifery practice and they brought along Cam's mom Kathy (who lovingly makes all of our baby shirts and had home births herself!). Ashleigh and Cam were joyously re-telling the story of how they finally conceived and the midwife turns to Kathy and says "so they're having your nephew?!" No. Just no. This baby is Kathy's GRANDSON. Coming from a midwife who supposedly is "LGBTQIA+ friendly", this was a wildly anti-queer thing to say to a family who tried so long to get pregnant.

Please give pause to midwives who DO NOT have a backup or are being wishy-washy with providing information on their backup. Like a simple "oh yes, I have a backup" without-elaborating-type-of response. Ask where their backup works - are they out of Miami? Because in reality how would that even work? Even solo practicing midwives should have other community midwives they can rely on to help out if they're sick or in a pinch. If a solo midwife does NOT have a backup, there's usually an ugly reason for that.
A super strong mama who is birthing an OP baby!

Midwives who cancel visits frequently. Now sometimes, births come in waves and we cannot control when births occur. Or sometimes (more of an issue for home-based practices) a clinic week may need to be rearranged on very short-to-no notice due to births or additional cancellations. But you should never have multiple visits in a row getting rescheduled or cancelled.

RED FLAG IF YOUR MIDWIFE DOESN'T HAVE GOOD HYGIENE! Dirty nails, smelly office space, stained clothing, etc. Because if they can't take care of themselves or their space, how do you expect them to take proper care of you?

"If a midwife cannot or will not acknowledge their biases. If they are not supportive or willing to transfer when indicated, or refuse to work collaboratively with physicians who ultimately care for their transferred clients because they are fully against hospitals, period." OR the opposite, like "they are too eager to transfer to the hospital; and are not invested in you enough to do everything they can to help you achieve your desired birth."

"If she tries to course-correct my past experiences without asking if that is something that I want to work through. I may have made peace with what has happened and appreciate their professional outlook, but I may not want to open that wound back up."
Erica tucking in ANOTHER THREEPEAT mama

Unwillingness to evolve their practice, especially after a "poor outcome" or even refusing to acknowledge a poor outcome as such. A great question to ask is "what were some of the hardest challenges you've faced, where you could have done better or different and how did you grow to make that right?".

"You leave your appointments feeling somewhat supported, but not fully."
Ashleigh & Erica visiting a fabulous client whose youngest is 8 months old!

The bottom line here, friend, is that no matter HOW you came to searching for midwives in

your community, you should feel elated when you've chosen your provider. You should feel excited for your visits, shouting from the rooftops how amazing your care is!! You can also have a spectacular midwife who is taking brilliant care of you and when it comes to a close, you can feel great about the care you received and reminisce on a totally joyful birth, without a deep life-time connection. But anything short of this is a failure. And if you've used a midwife through a couple of pregnancies, but are still left feeling like you are not a priority, just remember that you don't OWE that midwife your loyalty.

Find yourself a midwife who makes you GIDDY. And remember, it's never too late to find your perfect midwife.

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