I’m Pregnant… How Do I Choose a Midwife?

We found this amazing list of questions on the Ministry of Health website, that you might like to ask your LMC in order to determine if they are right for you:

Questions about maternity care

  • Do you have a current practicing certificate?
  • Will you be my only carer, or will others be involved? (Many midwives work in teams. If your main carer is a specialist doctor you will see a midwife as well while you are in labour and giving birth, and in the early weeks after giving birth. See the questions below if you are choosing a specialist doctor.)
  • How can I contact you if I need help or advice in and out of normal working hours?
  • Are you taking leave in the month or months before or after my baby is due?
  • Who will give backup care for me if you can’t be there?
  • What choices do you offer for where I give birth (eg, hospital, maternity unit, birthing unit, home birth, water birth)?
  • Where will I see you for my pregnancy check-up visits? Will you visit me in my home? Will I go to a clinic?
  • How many visits can I expect to have? Will you visit me at home in early labour?
  • What happens if you are away or with someone else when I go into labour?
  • Will I be able to meet your backup midwife or doctor?
  • What happens if I need specialist care during my pregnancy or my labour? If this happens, will you continue to care for me?
  • Who will be caring for me after the birth – in hospital and when I go home? If I stay in hospital, what will your role be?
  • After baby is born, how many visits can I expect, both in hospital and at home, and for how many weeks? Between visits, are you available for me to phone you for advice?
  • Can I give feedback on the care you give?
  • How would you describe the maternity care that you give in pregnancy, labour and birth?
  • What is your philosophy about childbirth?
  • What’s your experience and about how many births a year do you attend?
  • How many other women have you got booked who are due about the same time as me?

Further questions if you are choosing a specialist doctor to provide your care

  • Will I have to pay – and if so, for what, how much and when?
  • Who will be my midwife during labour?
  • Can I meet the midwife who will care for me during labour?
  • Who will visit me at home when I go home from hospital?

If you are considering having a home birth, and are looking for a home birth midwife, there is a great list of questions on the Home Birth Aotearoa website. You can also look online to see if there are any local home birth groups in your area for more support.

Finding a midwife is a personal journey – they are going to be with you at a time when you are pushed beyond your limits and uniquely vulnerable. Your LMC must be on board with all your birthing preferences and able to support your wishes to be met wherever possible. With that said, you need to be able to trust them should your carefully thought out birth plan go out the window (birth is really unpredictable!). We can be prepared and have an idea of our birth plans, but we must also be ready to accept that things may take a different turn and trust that we are in good hands. Your LMC should be operating based on informed consent, so that if the birth does require a change in plans, that your informed consent is sought before any actions are taken.

You are of course allowed to change your LMC at any point along the way if you realise that this person is not the one for you. Listen to your intuition and follow its guidance.

How did you find your LMC? Did you choose one based on your birth preferences, or just on your rapport with one another? Leave us a comment below.

Hannah Schenker is a freelance writer, editor and regular contributor to The Natural Parent Magazine. She lives with a touch of magic in Golden Bay, New Zealand.

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