I love that I have been able to experience childbirth from multiple vantage points. My first 3 pregnancies and births were with OB’s in a hospital setting. What I bring from that background is understanding, not judgment. I also experienced my first midwife/home birth journey alongside my sister, who was in her first pregnancy at the time with an OB. The differences in our care, time spent, information given and attention received were clearly noted for both of us the more we debriefed after each appointment. (So much so, that she elected to use a nurse midwife for baby #2 and had a home birth with baby #3!)
So, what does prenatal care with a midwife look like?
Please realize, like other healthcare providers, midwives aren’t all exactly alike. Appointments with me are generally one hour in length at my home office. There are exceptions of course, like the initial visit, which generally runs 90 minutes, the home visit, which may take just over an hour, and of course any circumstances that may arise which may necessitate extra time.
Why is this a big deal? Well, to be honest, I think that was my favorite part and the most noticeable difference between the medical model and the midwifery model of care. When I would have an OB appointment, though it may have taken an hour, that was including checking in, waiting in the waiting room to be called, using the bathroom/leaving a sample, having my vitals assessed by the nurse, waiting in the exam room, seeing my doctor/chatting for a few minutes, rescheduling my appointment with the front desk and finally walking to my car.
In contrast, when clients arrive for a midwifery appointment, there is little-to-no wait. The entire hour has been booked just for you! We start off with pleasant visiting conversation where I ask how you are (and I really care to know the answer!). I assess your vital signs, weight, nutrition, urine, any discomforts present, fundal height, baby’s position and fetal heart tones at each visit of course; but there is more to the whole person than those things alone.
I draw labs when needed throughout the pregnancy, typically at the initial visit, around 28 weeks and again at 36 weeks. Prior to doing any of these tests I provide information and give the parents the opportunity for informed consent. (Another HUGE benefit of midwifery care).
Why so much time? I know, the idea may be so foreign as to be weird. I don’t hold anyone who has no need to be at her appointment longer than necessary. For some, they are done and ready to go within 30 minutes and that’s okay! But I want you to know that I allow a full hour and that we use that time to talk about what you’re going through, how you’re feeling, what’s coming up next and how to prepare. I believe the very foundation of midwifery care is wellness and prevention to work towards optimal outcomes.