Interviewing a homebirth midwife

We interviewed (and loved) a midwife last night for our upcoming VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) homebirth. When we chose an OB for our last pregnancy, we didn’t really interview anyone–just took one based on a referral from a friend because she had openings available. Huge mistake.

interviewing a midwife

I prepared a big list of questions for our midwife interview.. these were collected from ICAN, online forums, suggestions from twitter/facebook, and birth-y books (Birthing From Within, Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth…). Usually the interview turns more into a conversation and questions automatically get answered along the way, but here’s a guide you can use. Our interview/talk took 1.5 hours.

1. What is your experience? (and with VBACs?) How did you get started doing this?

2. How many births have you done? How many do you currently do (a month, a year)?

3. What is your birth philosophy?

4. What are your labor protocols? (and ask for differences if you’re trying for a VBAC)

5. What is your hospital transfer rate? How many of those are VBAC moms? How many end in cesareans? What are the reasons for transfer?

6. In the event of a transfer, do you come with? Do you prefer a certain hospital? Do you have a backing physician?

7. Do you have specifications for VBAC moms? Meaning… am I a good candidate? Explain your history if not already talked about.

8. Do you have a time limit on post-dates? If so, what happens if I get near it/go past it?

9. What natural induction methods might you suggest? What about for VBAC moms? Do you ever reach a point where you may break the water?

10. How many patients to you accept at a time? Do you blackout any other patients near my due date?

11. Have you ever missed a birth (and why)? What happens in that situation–if you have another mom in labor, you’re sick, you can’t make it, etc.–do you have a back up and who?

12. Have you ever had a postpartum hemorrhage and what is your protocol for handling it?

13. When are you available to me? Can I call anytime?

14. How do you handle prenatal tests? Do you do them yourself?

15. What supplies do you bring to the homebirth and what supplies will I need to purchase myself? Do you have water birthing tubs or know where I can buy/rent one?

16. Do you perform episiotomies? Do you sew up tears?

17. How do you handle babies out of position (ie breech, posterior, etc)?

18. Are you certified in neonatal resuscitation?

19. What are your fees and what do they include? (prenatal visits, tests, ultrasounds?, labor/birth, transfer assistance?, postpartum care/visits… do you clean up after the birth? do you help with nursing?) Do you bill to insurance?

20. Who handles the application for the birth certificate/social security card? Us or you?

21. Do you have a couple of references I can contact?

22. Do you bring an assistant with you? What is her role and can I meet her?

23. What are your views on vaccines, circumcision, breastfeeding, homeopathy…

24. Do you have recommendations for doulas, childbirth/VBAC classes, placental encapsulation, pain  management techniques? Are you familiar with hypnobabies/Bradley/Brio/etc and do you suggest any?

25. Do you have a pulse ox for the baby? (to test blood oxygen levels as a possible indicator of a CHD).

Okay, I think that’s it from me… I’m sure there are more and if you have some to add to this list, please help out other mamas and put them in a comment below!!!

Good luck!

14 comments to Interviewing a homebirth midwife

  • I don’t have any questions to add, just a general word of advice about choosing a care provider. If something about the midwife/OB/doula/whoever bugs you ordoesnt feel quite right, even if its just a personality thing, that same thing is going to annoy the crap out of you when you are in labor


    babydickey Reply:

    VERY good point! Thank you for adding that!


  • Rachel N

    That is an awesome list! Going to have to bookmark this for my next pregnancy. A lot of these questions could also be applied to any OB you interview.


  • Sara

    Awesome list! I never even thought to interview an OB…


  • Great questions! How did it go? Hoping you find who you are looking for 🙂


  • Christine

    Wow, I have only in the back of my mind considered what I would ask. This is a great list to ponder.


  • When you interviewed your midwife, what did she say about neonatal resuscitation? I’m curious to know what kind of equipment/skills they would have, I think that’s the major thing that scares me away from delivering outside of a hospital.


    babydickey Reply:

    Ya know, I guess I didn’t ask specifics about it. She told me she’s certified and that’s all I wanted to know. It’s like being certified in CPR or first aid.

    We paid a $300 hospital bill when Ryan was born specifically for “neonatal resuscitation.” I couldn’t see a thing past the curtain, but Steve (my husband) saw it all–the nurse rubbed and patted Ryan’s back. That’s it. $300. “Neonatal resuscitation.” I’m not saying it can’t be more serious than that because I know it can be, but there’s also a fear there just from the use of that term. If that makes sense.


  • my experience with midwives in the midwest (hi! about 3 hours from you!) is that generally, they are trained in neonatal rescusitation, have oxygen on hand, and cary equipment especially fittted for newborns. It is a good thing to ask how current the certification/training is, and what they carry, just to be sure.

    My understand is there are several midwives and doulas that serve the QC area – I hope you find the perfect fit for your family!


    Carrie Reply:

    Er. Rockford is not the same as the QC, but there are still midwives and doulas around there! 🙂


  • Thank you for posting this, I am starting to look for a midwife and I was just think about what I should ask


  • This is such a wonderful list and thank you for sharing! Hubby and I are currently trying to get things in order to start trying for our next baby some time next year and definitely plan on trying to do a VBAC. Unfortunately, the state we currently live in (Arkansas) is not HBAC friendly at all and I REALLY don’t even want to go to a hospital again, VBAC friendly or not. I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on VBACs and HBACs recently, so coming across this post has been a blessing! Thanks again!

    Btw…Did I see in someone else’s comment that you live in/around Rockford? Is that Rockford, IL? Just curious because that is close to where my in-laws live. 🙂


    Emily Dickey Reply:

    Hi Alicia! Yes, I’m in Rockford IL 🙂 My state isn’t HBAC friendly either… but where there’s a will, there’s a way! Check with a local ICAN chapter near you, I’m sure they can give you some resources! Glad this post was helpful 🙂 If you have any other questions for me, feel free to reach out!


  • Rose

    I know this article is very old but I wanted to let you know that it was extremely helpful to me! Interviewing new midwife in a few days! Thank you!


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