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“When a woman births, not only is a baby being born but so is a mother.
How we treat her will affect how she feels about herself as a mother and as a parent.
Be gentle. Be kind. Listen.”
― Ruth Ehrhardt
These are the most common questions we hear from clients,
but visit our resource page for more great information.
• How often do you see me prenatally?
We will see you on the same schedule as an obstetrician would. We can begin care as soon as you are ready, although most mothers chose to start care between 10-12 weeks. After our first visit, we will meet every 4 weeks until 28 weeks, every 2 weeks until 36 weeks, and then every week until your sweet baby is born.
• How often do you see mothers and babies after the birth?
We believe postpartum care is as important as prenatal care, particularly for first time mothers. So many changes in such a short time means most mothers need lots of support. We will come to your home 24-36 hours after the birth, then see you in the office at 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and finally at 6-8 weeks. During this time, we are able to make sure both you and your new baby are thriving.
• What about lab work and ultrasounds?
We can order any labs that are necessary. We usually recommend a prenatal panel at your first visit, a glucose test at 28 weeks, and then a CBC and a Group B strep test at 37 weeks. Some mothers need a few more tests, and some choose a few less.
We never require an ultrasound without a medical reason, but we are happy to order one for you, if you desire. If our clients only want one ultrasound, we usually recommend it to be done between 18-20 weeks. The baby is fully formed by then, which appears to minimize any risk, and it allows us to get as much information as possible (and see the sex of the baby, if you want!)
• What do midwives use at births?
We always bring our heart, our hands and our experience…and a big birth bag! We have water proof dopplers to monitor baby throughout labor, all the equipment to watch your vital signs, sterile tools such as scissors to cut the cord, resuscitation equipment, baby scales, herbal tinctures, homeopathy, medicines…our supplies are virtually bottomless!
• Do you do water births?
YES! Here at Embrace we love water births, and you are welcome to push your baby out under water. We recommend that all our mothers consider at least laboring in water. The birth center has extra deep, soaking tubs that are spacious enough for you and your partner.
• Do I need a doula?
We recommend doulas to everyone, but especially to first time mothers, VBAC mothers, and mothers who have never had an unmedicated birth. A doula will “mother the mother” and keep you feeling comfortable. Embrace Midwifery Care & Birth Center has a doula internship program that allows every mother to have a doula at her birth at no additional cost! And of course, you are always welcome to bring a doula you've hired independently of us.
• What if I can’t take the pain?
We have had less than 1% of our mothers transfer for pain relief, and those were due to babies who were in troublesome positions. When mothers are educated and supported and in familiar surroundings, those endorphins do their work and mothers do great.
• What if there is an emergency?
Although out-of-hospital birth is safe for low risk mothers, sometimes we do have to transfer. Usually these transfers are not urgent, and we just need to go to the hospital for some help...maybe some pitocin, if contractions have stopped, or for an epidural, if mother has had a long labor and needs to rest in order to labor effectively. About 1% of birth center transfers are urgent, and we are happy to say that the birth center has EMS available 24 hours a day and just across the street. Chippenham Hospital is just over 3 miles away and we have a very detailed transfer plan in place should we need to go to the hospital quickly.
• What medicines are available at the birth center?
We have IV's for fluid replacement, because some mothers vomit during labor and can become dehydrated. We have antibiotics for Group B Strep positive mothers. We keep antihemorrhagic medicines, in case you bleed more than normal after the birth.
All of our medicines are ready at every birth, but only used if needed.
For the baby, we offer erythromycin ointment to prevent eye infections and we offer Vitamin K by injection or oral drops.
• Isn’t midwifery care expensive?
The average cost of a uncomplicated vaginal birth, in the hospital with a doctor, is almost $12,000 in Richmond VA. After deductibles, co-pays and items not covered by insurance, many families find midwifery care to be less expensive than filing a claim! In comparison, birth center costs are a small fraction of that and is inexpensive for the amount and quality of care received. Here’s a rough estimate of our average time spent with a client:
Each birth is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Most people budget and plan for things they really want, because it is worth it to them. Birthing a child the way you want to is as important as the special things we expect to pay out of pocket for, like weddings, cars, engagement rings, and vacations.
See our fees and insurance page for more information.
We love questions!
Bring a list to each appointment and we will customize our 45 minute appointment to your needs.
our wonderful local resources and our recommended websites.