What does prenatal care with a Marin County midwife look like?
Our birth services take place in a comfortable, non-clinical environment, either our client's homes or in our office. Prenatal care midwife visits last from one hour to an hour and a half. Our clients have our undivided attention that entire time and are encouraged to ask all their questions, bring up concerns and share what’s going well for them. Our prenatal and home birth services discussions cover the whole picture of their well being. We talk about everything. We want to really know as much as we can about our clients’ experiences with pregnancy and birth. The experience is very important to us. We also do all the clinical checks to monitor the physical wellbeing of mom and baby, although it doesn’t feel clinical. We integrate a lot of home birth education into our visits so our clients know all about the tests and screenings that are offered at appropriate times throughout pregnancy. We do a lot of preparation for birth because prep is key! The prenatal midwife services are really fun and sweet, and this focused time allows us to get to know one another deeply.
What is the role of my partner in a homebirth?
For those who have a partner, their role in home birth varies depending on the family's needs, wishes and personalities. This is a very important role. The birth partner is usually the closest/ most trusted person in the mom and baby's life. They often provide emotional support by being present and focused throughout labor and birth. They can physically support the mama and encourage her. It's a profound experience to watch and help a mother give birth at home.
What happens if we have to transfer during labor?
We are very blessed to have modern medicine available to us when needed and we always play it safe. The vast majority of home to hospital transfers are non-emergencies. We always prepare a backup plan with our clients prenatally so that if transport is needed, it can be done smoothly, efficiently and calmly. If the decision to transfer is made, one of our midwives goes to the hospital with our client and continues providing support and advocacy, while the other midwife cleans up their home in preparation for the family’s return with their baby. We call into the chosen hospital ahead and let them know we are coming. We send the clients records so they are ready, up to date and expecting our arrival. In the event of an emergency at home, we never hesitate to call 911 and we stay with our clients until the emergency is resolved.
Is homebirth safe?
Home birth is very safe for low-risk pregnancy and birth. We are experts in preventing and identifying the risk factors that indicate intervention and make it unsafe to continue with an out of hospital birth plan. Safety is the highest priority and we always have a backup plan in place. We also believe birth is a natural function of the body rather than a medical condition that requires medical intervention. We support the body to function as it was designed to reproduce, interruption of this process often causes imbalance and a cascade of intervention.
Is unmedicated childbirth painful?
We won’t lie, yes, usually. There are some women who feel minimal pain and actually experience pleasure when birthing, even to the point of orgasm. However, this is by no means the majority. I can say that there are many tools to learn to navigate the pain/pleasure spectrum and unmedicated home birth is totally manageable for most women. We’ve seen it hundreds of times. In a nutshell- Relaxation, focus, breath, and practice are key to training your mind to interpret the sensations on the pleasure side of the spectrum. Fear leads to tension and resistance which can do the opposite. The mind is super powerful. We are trained to expect pain and it takes a lot of work to un-condition ourselves. What if from childhood, we were taught that giving birth feels good and we came into our women's bodies with tools to enhance our experiences with menstruation, sex, and childbirth? Just a thought experiment. Birth is amazing though, however it happens. Women are amazing. Plus, nobody ever said medicated birth is 100% pain-free.
Will I get a birth certificate?
Yes, we submit the paperwork for your baby’s birth certificate after home birth. Our clients do have to bring their baby into the county office and sign the paperwork (with the baby present). The timing is somewhat flexible.
Will students be at my birth?
As of now, the answer is no. We currently do not have students in our practice. When we do, we always check in with clients about this and it's up to you. Students sometimes find it difficult to access experience opportunities. It is an invaluable gift to the student and birth community to allow a student (under supervision) to attend home births and prenatal midwifery care. So if clients are open to it, we think it can be wonderful. Students will always be selected, vetted and trained by your trusted midwives.
Who can I invite to my homebirth?
It's totally up to you. We talk a lot about this during prenatal care and help you make a good plan that supports you in the best way. Usually, there are very few people but sometimes its a party! We can help you decide what’s right for your home birth.
What does postpartum care look like?
New baby in your arms, your own bed, nurturing treatments, food and drinks brought to you, lots of resting and we come to you for check-ups. As long as everyone is thriving you really don't have to leave if you don't want to. In fact, we encourage you to stay put for the best recovery and enjoy your baby moon. We come to you and check baby's progress, on your healing and the whole transition. Our Marin County midwives help with breastfeeding, baby care, answer questions, weigh the baby, check your body and see that everyone is adjusting well. You can call us day or night with any concerns. If you choose to do newborn screenings, we bring the tools to you and can do it right in your home.
Does a midwife help with breastfeeding?
In the immediate postpartum, our midwives make sure the baby has latched and is breastfeeding before we leave your home. We are breastfeeding councilors as well as midwives. We provide a lot of education during pregnancy and support as you and your baby find your way. During postpartum visits, we help resolve any issues that might come up through positioning, nutrition, timing, and council. We can identify more serious issues that might be beyond our scope and give referrals for trusted professionals.
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