Naturally Mama.

From one natural mama to another…

36 Questions to Ask a Potential Midwife December 9, 2010

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I came across my list of questions that I asked my Midwife at our consultation. She let me ask every single question, answered them thoroughly and did not rush me for the hour and a half we were there. I think this is all of them, but I might be missing a paper since they were not attached. Some of these questions my not apply to your specific situation. Some good questions to ask, Anyhow. Enjoy!

  1. How often will you want to see me for prenatal visits?
  2. Do all visits take place in your office?
  3. What days/times do you schedule visits?
  4. How much time is usually allowed for visits?
  5. At what point in labor do you want us to call you?
  6. At what point in labor will you head to our home?
  7. Do you have a birth ball or other equipment that you will bring?
  8. Can you tell us about the birth kit and medications you will bring to the birth?
  9. Is oxygen carried to all births?
  10. What do you consider ‘slowly progressing labor’ and how do you handle it?
  11. Under what circumstances do you recommend induction?
  12. What methods do you suggest to induce labor under those circumstances?
  13. What are your protocols for breaking the bag of waters?
  14. What do you consider prolonged pushing and how to you handle it?
  15. What is your protocol regarding fetal monitoring during labor?
  16. How do you feel about a Doula being present at the birth?
  17. What comfort measures do you encourage during labor?
  18. How do you feel about eating/drinking during labor?
  19. Are there any restrictions on photography or video-taping during labor/birth?
  20. Do you have anything against the baby being birthed into my hands, or my Husband’s hands?
  21. How hands-on are you during labor? Do you insert any past of your fingers or hands into the vagina during the active pushing stage?
  22. Do you support newborn assessments being done in my arms and after bonding?
  23. What are our options when it comes to opting out of the Vitamin K and eye ointment?
  24. Do you give a Hep B shot?
  25. Will you deliver breech?
  26. How far past the ‘due date’ will you deliver?
  27. What do you use to stop a postpartum hemorrhage?
  28. If there is a complication or emergency, are you able to accompany us to the hospital?
  29. What problems/issues will you handle on your own and what would require a transfer to the hospital?
  30. What are your infant/mother mortality rates?
  31. What is your hospital transfer rate?
  32. How do you feel about water birth?
  33. How many water births have you attended?
  34. Any water birth concerns or past complications?
  35. What is the desired schedule for follow-up care?
  36. How is the filing of the birth certificate handled?

I could probably come up with 4 more to make this post ‘40 questions to ask a potential midwife’ but I’m feelin’ a little lazy 😛

Have some questions to add? Leave it in a comment for others to see!


Home Birth: 5 Ways You Can Offer Her Support November 24, 2010

When I mentioned home birth to my Husband, I could see the worry and apprehension in his eyes. Truth be told, when I decided half way through my last pregnancy that I wanted a home birth, worries and apprehension were probably peeking through my eyes at first, as well. There are lots of questions and many preparations to be made upon deciding to have a home birth. However, when research has been done, questions have been answered and the decision to have a home birth has been made, it is important that the pregnant Mama truly feels comfort and reassurance from those around her. Here are 5 ways to do just that.

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  1. Pay attention. Really pay attention. Listen when she talks about her wants, needs and plans for home birth. There’s not much worse than feeling like someone you care about isn’t interested in something that’s important to you.
  2. Give your input, but don’t criticize. You can voice your opinion, but remember to validate and understand how she feels first. She will be doing the hardest work of her life and it is ultimately her choice where and how she does it. She needs to feel completely supported and comfortable with her surroundings during birth for it to go smoothly. If you are keeping the line of communication open in a gentle and understanding way, she will likely be open to your thoughts and ideas as well.
  3. Do your own research. If you don’t know where to start, Google ‘home birth’ and start to search related topics of interest from there. She will be reassured, comforted and probably a little impressed seeing someone close to her caring enough to do so.
  4. Get involved and offer help. It can be time consuming and get lonely planning and purchasing everything for a home birth alone. Offer to write a list that she has on her mind (if she’s anything like me, she has 5 at any given time…), to help her research the best prices for supplies or to stop by the store and pickup something needed.
  5. Ask her what else she needs. What does she need from you other than the things above? What does she need and expect from you while she’s in labor and in the days after she has the baby? Let her know that she has your full support at all times and then really follow through with that support. She deserves it.

Even though these things may seem small, they will make a world of a difference to the homebirthin’ Mama in your life.


Reasons to avoid the hospital and give birth at home November 17, 2010

If you’ve chosen to have a hospital birth, there are important things that you should know that the hospital will likely not tell you. The information that you are about to read is my personal opinion summing up why to avoid a hospital birth at all costs.

  1. The miracle of birth belongs at home. It is not an illness or a disease and should not be treated like one with IVs, heart rate monitors, etc.
  2. Routine newborn procedures that need no consent, are usually done without even telling you, and are sometimes forced on you (by guilt, by threat, etc.) if you do educate yourself about these procedures and choose to refuse any or all of them. These procedures include:
  • Taking the baby from you to weigh, measure, give a bath, poke and prod before you’ve had a good amount of time to bond and breastfeed.
  • Almost immediately blurring your baby’s [already lacking] vision with antibiotic goop. The reasoning behind this goop? You may have Chlamydia or Gonorrhea which can give your baby an infection and/or make them go blind when they pass through the birth canal. If you know that you do not have an STD, this is 100% unnecessary.
  • Injecting newborns with a Hepatitis B vaccine within around an hour of birth. The ‘reasoning’ behind overloading a newborn’s system with toxic ingredients that their tiny bodies aren’t meant to handle is all in the name of a sexually transmitted disease. If this vaccine is effective at all, which is another topic entirely, it is thought only to be effective for up to 10 years and some think much less, around 2 or 3 years. Why should we be vaccinating every single child for an STD when the vaccination doesn’t even last through teen and adult years? Shouldn’t we be advocating for safe sex and abstinence instead? I just don’t know of many children in need of protection from an STD...
  • Vitamin K shot. This is to aid in the control of blood clotting in the case of a very rare brain bleeding disorder. I first of all do not believe that our creator would make babies deficient in something simply so they can be given a shot of it at birth. I also don’t believe that ALL babies should be given a shot of a vitamin due to a small amount of babies might actually needing it. If you’re worried about this or feel the need to supplement Vitamin K in your newborn for whatever reason, you can purchase oral Vitamin K at your local health/drug store. Or even better, you can eat foods rich in Vitamin K and do one of the best things you could possibly ever do for your child: BREASTFEED. Your nutrients and vitamins are passed onto your little one, and they are also immune from many illnesses and viruses for MONTHS after birth simply from you giving them the milk in your body. It’s beautiful! And much less harmful than the Vitamin K shot that comes with risks.
  • Last but not least on my list of worries about newborn procedures done at the hospital: circumcision. This unnecessary procedure is painful, harmful, and can cause deformity and death.  The hospital and the doctor which performs the procedure profit greatly from it, so of course they want you to have it done.  They are even going so far as to do it against parents wishes! There are no proven health benefits and again, our creator would not have made it so if it wasn’t supposed to be so. Please do your research before considering such an outdated, dangerous and unnecessary procedure in you haven’t researched already.

Aside from these routine procedures, breast is proven to be best for baby. I believe that breastfeeding is not TRULY encouraged in most hospitals. They are paid good money to promote formula and diaper bag goodies from formula companies. A lot of hospitals can also be quick to offer a bottle or pacifier to your newborn, making nipple confusion a great barrier in the success of breastfeeding for you and your baby.

I believe in and advocate for DCC (delayed cord clamping). Hospitals still do not do this routinely and many will not want to take the time to do it, even when you ask. I have read multiple stories where parents have put in writing and explained their preference for DCC, only to have the Doctor completely ignore them, or to clamp it but not cut it. What good does not cutting it do if you clamp off the blood flow? Your baby deserves and needs the blood cells and nutrients that are transported through the umbilical cord after birth. You cannot be sure that this will happen with a busy hospital room full of people who usually hardly know you or care for your wishes, and who are used to doing things a certain way.

Even if you put all of this into a ‘Birth Plan’ (or ‘Birth Wishes’, as I prefer to call it) and hand it to every single medical professional who comes your way, there is no way to be sure your wishes will be honored. A Birth Plan/Birth Wishes are not legal documents- they are a communication tool which most Doctors and Nurses find unnecessary. They usually just whisk the baby away and do what they always do- you have to watch their every move and be on your toes, which is a hard thing to do after some of the toughest work in your life (birthing your baby!) has just been accomplished. Like I said above, they have a certain way of doing things in a hospital and that usually involves taking over and overshadowing the Mother, the Father, and their desires for THEIR baby.

Another thing that concerns me is sickness and germs from people you don’t know. You may be in a special enclosed unit, but there are plenty of illnesses circulating with how many people there are wandering around. Multiple nurses and specialists, patients and their guests- there’s no telling who has what and if you or your baby will get it. At home, you have only the people you choose there and you don’t have to worry about sickness. Your baby will be born in the environment you have lived in and grown him in so far, and he will stay in that environment as long as you choose without having to leave to go home. You’re already there!

Hospitals not only closely monitor you, they control what you do. They will try to control what you wear, what you eat or drink (if anything at all), if you move around or not, how many people can be in the room while you give birth and/or visiting hours, etc. At home, YOU ARE THE BOSS. You decide what happens when and who will be there for it. Period. You choose the room, change rooms as often as you want, eat pizza, lean on your dog during contractions while your husband is filling the pool… it”s wonderfully freeing and natural at home.

Hospitals are also more expensive. Way more expensive.

Your chances of c-section greatly go up with a hospital birth. I will cover this in a near-future post 🙂

In a hospital, the Doctor can (and often does) decide things are not progressing fast enough. They want to get you out of there to fill up the bed for the next person so they can make more money. Pitocin, or ‘Pit’ as they have nicknamed favorite their over-used drug, is all to common in hospitals. If you’re hooked up to an IV of saline, they can (and they do!) hook you up to Pitocin without your knowledge. Check out my post on the dangers of Pitocin here.

You have to sign in and out at the hospital and they must know where you are at all times. At home, well if you sign in and out that’s just a little weird.

Parking and hallways. Your family and friends will not have to fight for parking, hike to the building and walk down endless mazes to find you. They can just show up and open your front door instead.

Dad sleeps on the ‘couch’ at the hospital. Some of the tiny couches I have seen are not meant for a Dad! You can all sleep in the family bed the very first night after your baby comes into the world when you give birth at home. Beautiful.

The most important thing in deciding where to give birth is you and your baby’s safety. If you have a trained Midwife that you trust and access to a hospital if you need it, home birth is just as safe (and in my opinion considering all of the above) even more safe than a hospital birth.


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