Lifestyle & Wellness

First Prenatal Visit: Comprehensive List of Important Questions to Ask Your Midwife

I have had three pregnancies & have always worked with a midwife. This time around, we are planning a home birth, so there are a lot more questions to ask! These are not only questions to as if you’re thinking about a home birth, but also questions to ask your regular OB at your first prenatal visit if you’re planning a hospital birth.

A couple pieces of advice when you go in to ask these things:

  1. Do NOT be afraid to ask questions. If they make you feel like you shouldn’t be asking, then there’s a problem.

  2. Make sure that everything lines up with what you want for your birth – and I mean everything! Don’t compromise on anything. The things that seem small now could be a huge part of your birth & can even stick with you as a traumatic experience. Everyone deserves a beautiful birth experience no matter which method they choose. That’s where choosing your care comes in and that’s why this first prenatal visit is so important.

  3. Ask about hospital policy, but also be aware that YOU are in charge of your birth, your life and your baby’s life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s time to put on your mama bird pants and get the birth you want.

  4. Remember, someone else’s trauma is not your birth story. Just because your friend Sally had a horrible natural delivery & they had to rush her to a C-Section doesn’t mean that is going to happen to you.

  5. Just because you’ve had one C-section doesn’t mean that you have to have another. Just because one baby was breech doesn’t mean this one will be. Just because your baby struggled or you struggled with birth the first time around, doesn’t mean it’ll happen again. Recovering from a C is 1000 times harder than recovering from a vaginal birth (this is not from experience, but from things people have told me + my own research).

  6. Go in with a positive mindset, but do not waiver from what you want. This whole process is fun and exciting and if anyone is putting a damper on it, they don’t need to be a part of your birth team. Maybe the person you’re interviewing lines up on all the things you want, but your chemistry just doesn’t click. That’s not the person for you. Believe me, you want the person who will be in your L&D with you to really mesh with you & have great bed side manner. I once had a midwife make me feel like an absolute idiot for asking questions during my first pregnancy. Um. No. That is not okay.

Okay I hope those few notes got you hyped up and ready to go interview health care providers (haha!) Your first prenatal visit is not the most glamorous thing, but this is the first time of many when you will have to advocate for yourself and for your child. When I was first pregnant, I hadn’t been to the doctor much because I’m a healthy person who doesn’t get sick much. I hadn’t had much experience with such “intense” doctors & it threw me for a loop.

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Questions to ask at first prenatal visit for an OB specifically:

  1. Can you confidently identify lip/tongue tie that will affect breastfeeding?

  2. Is there a Lactation Consultant on your staff that I get to meet with during my time here?

  3. Can I call her/him after I leave if needed, even after this first prenatal visit?

  4. Do you allow delayed cord clamping? What would you consider “delayed”? Keep in mind, you want 30 min to an hour or until the cord is completely white and limp.

  5. Can I birth in a different position than on my back? Laying on your back is actually the worst position to birth i: it makes your birth canal the smallest possible by pushing up your tailbone and making you push against gravity. Instead try hands and knees or arms draped backwards over the bed. “Work with gravity, not against it” has never applied more!

  6. Hepatitis B, Vitamin K & Eye Goup policy? If I choose not to give my baby these things, will I be pressured to do so? What is hospital policy? (If you don’t want any of these things, make sure their opinion aligns with yours. This is the first of many many times you will have to advocate for your baby on their behalf. Get used to it 😉

  7. What is your Group Beta Strep policy?

  8. How long will you allow for the 3rd stage of Birth: delivering the placenta? What will happen after that amount of time? (Sometimes it can naturally take your body & your hormones 45 min to an hour to deliver the placenta. Most OBs have a 30 minute max & will administer Pitocin at that 30 min mark, which is typically unnecessary.)

If you’re planning a home birth, there are a lot more questions to ask:

  1. Do you perform a hemoglobin test?

  2. Do you partner with any practices so I can get an anatomy scan?

  3. Do you want a full blood panel work up so you can see where we’re starting from? Most home birth midwives will have a clinic or a practice that they work closely with for things like this, but some are certified to take your blood for you at home.

  4. Rogham injections? When are they needed? What do you do for them?

  5. Do you bring all birth certificate necessities to the birth? When do we take care of that? Do you mail it or do I?

  6. Do you do nutrition monitoring and advising after the first prenatal visit?

  7. Glucose testing? How do you do that? Some midwives will send you to a clinic and some do an at home finger prick for 2 weeks to test your glucose levels.

  8. Cost? (this is an obvious question) Are there added costs for birth supplies or do you bring what you need? Travel costs?

  9. When during my labor will you join me? How do I let you know it’s time?

  10. How long will you be here after baby arrives?

  11. What level of clean up do you do? What do you do with the water in the tub?

  12. Do you do a hearing test for baby?

  13. Heart screen & PKU for baby?

  14. Under what circumstances would you recommend transfer to the hospital?

  15. If I end up transferring to the hospital, what happens? How much do I own you if I do?

  16. What do I owe at each appointment?

  17. When is full payment due?

  18. What if I decide to change care in the middle of my pregnancy after this first prenatal visit?

  19. What happens if you don’t show up to my birth in time? & do I owe you the full amount?

  20. Are you covered by my insurance? (This may be more of a question to ask your insurance provider, but the midwife can usually help too)

  21. Do you bring a helper or is it just you?

  22. If for some crazy reason/act of God you can’t make it to my birth, what happens?

I hope you found this list helpful! Make sure you feel really good about who you hire because this person will be by your side through your most vulnerable state. Want to learn more about holistic pregnancy and motherhood? Check out my comprehensive guide here.

And don’t forget to grab your pregnancy wellness journal here!