What is a midwife?
Midwife literally means “with woman.” Midwives are guardians of natural childbirth and well-woman care. Over 80 percent of the babies born in the world today are received into the caring, skillful hands of a midwife. Midwives provide women with support and guidance to insure a healthy, natural pregnancy, labor, delivery and post-partum experience. All over the world midwives are “with women” during the most significant moment of their lives – childbirth.
In a nutshell, midwives are experts in healthy pregnancy and birth. Midwives offer maternity care to healthy pregnant women and their newborn babies from early pregnancy, through labor and birth, until six weeks postpartum. The midwives at Canyon Birth Center are in a unique position to continue pediatric care after those 6 weeks because they are Naturopathic Doctors too!
The midwives at Canyon Birth Center practice evidence-based, woman-centered maternity, and newborn care and are an established part of the health care system.
Why choose a midwife?
Midwifery and medical obstetrics are separate but complementary professions with different philosophies and overlapping but distinct purposes and bodies of knowledge. Physicians are experts in pathology and should have primary responsibility for the care of pregnant women who have recognized diseases or serious complications. Midwives are experts in normal pregnancy and in meeting the other needs of pregnant women— the needs that are not related to pathology. In most countries, midwives have primary responsibility for the care of women with uncomplicated pregnancies.
Midwifery focuses on the normalcy of pregnancy, and its potential for health. Birth is viewed as a natural process that has profound meaning to many people and should be treated as normal until there is evidence of a problem. The possibility of complications is not allowed to preempt all other values associated with the woman’s experience of bearing and giving birth to a child. Midwives are experts in protecting, supporting, and enhancing the normal physiology of labor, delivery, and breast-feeding.
What are the advantages of Midwifery care?
Studies consistently show that women cared for by midwives tend to be happier with their birth experience, have lower rates of medical interventions such as induction of labor or cesarean, and have healthier babies than those low-risk women cared for by obstetricians.
Midwifery clients are encouraged to make informed evidence-based choices about their care. Midwifery clients have access to all routine medical testing during their pregnancy including blood work, genetic testing and ultrasounds. In addition, midwifery clients benefit from knowing and trusting their midwives, with whom they develop a close relationship during pregnancy. Paramount to midwifery practice is that clients feel respected and supported so that they are able to experience pregnancy, give birth, and become parents with power and dignity.
What are the different types of midwives and are they all licensed?
Naturopathic Midwife (ND Midwife) – Licensed
- After completing a 4-year undergraduate degree, Naturopaths’ then attend a 4-year accredited Naturopathic Medical School, and finally a 2-year residency in Midwifery. Naturopathic Midwivesdeliver babies out-of-hospital in client’s homes and birth centers.
- Naturopathic Midwives have passed rigorous competency testing by the American College of Naturopathic Obstetrics (ACNO) and the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE).
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) – Licensed
- CNM’s are trained as nurses and have done additional study in midwifery. Most CNM’s deliver in hospitals and many are affiliated with an obstetrician’s office. Around 3% of CNM attended births occur in birth centers or at client’s homes.
Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) – Licensed
- A midwife who has passed rigorous competency testing by the North American Registry ofMidwives (NARM) is awarded a CPM certificate.
Direct Entry Midwife – Unlicensed
- An independent practitioner who has learned midwifery through study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, or a college program that is not a nursing program.
I’m currently seeing an obstetrician, is it too late to switch to midwifery care?
Absolutely not! Midwives are happy to take clients at any time in their pregnancy, provided the calendar isn’t full! Just call to inquire about availability and book a consult. It’s never too late to switch to midwifery care. As long as you have received regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy, have complete copies of your medical records, and fall into the “low risk” category, we would love to share in your out of hospital birth experience. Since we limit the number of clients due in any 30-day period, acceptance into care will depend on availability.
What about VBACS?
Canyon Birth Center supports women as they explore their birthing options, including Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). Since safety is our top priority, certain criteria will need to be met.
Many studies have shown the increase in risks involved with babies in the breech position and with twins. Due to this, Canyon Birth Center does not do planned breech births or twins at the facility. Should your baby be in a breech position during the end of pregnancy, we will work to encourage the baby to turn into a vertex position.
Do the Canyon midwives also attend homebirths?
Absolutely! For some families, home is a perfect location for their birth. There may be some differences in insurance coverage for homebirth vs. birth at the birth center. We also only take a limited number of homebirth clients per month.
There are certain situations in which a family will be requested to carefully consider utilizing the birth center instead of having a birth at home. These things include things such as: lack of local emergency services, far distance from your home to a hospital for emergency transport, a home that has safety issues, lack of proper supplies, issues with electricity or water supplies, or conditions that make it hard for midwives to provide good and safe care.
Does Canyon allow water birth?
While most women choose to labor in the birth tub, not all deliver in the water. Water birth is a welcomed option, but you will be encouraged to listen to your body and find what feels right for you and your baby. Sometimes gravity and feet on the wood floor are what’s needed! Other times, the birth chair does the trick.
What kind of pain relief options are available?
Many factors contribute to a woman’s perception of pain in labor. We find that with the continual support of skilled and familiar attendants, in a safe and relaxed environment, a natural birth can be accomplished and often leaves a woman in awe of the power of birth.
We offer a variety of methods to help women cope with the discomforts of labor including massage, hydrotherapy (including water birth), homeopathy, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, intracutaneous sterile water injections, changes of position, bodywork and other methods. Most recently, we have added nitrous oxide to our list of pain relief options.
What happens if I need to go to the hospital?
Canyon is prepared for complications and has the equipment and skill to handle emergencies. Oxygen and resuscitation equipment are immediately available. The midwives can provide intravenous infusion (IV) and have emergency medications on hand. There will be at least two skilled attendants at your birth. The midwives have all been trained and certified in Neonatal Resuscitation. During your prenatal care, an individualized transfer of care plan is established. This plan designates a specific collaborating hospital that will warmly accept you in the event of a hospital transport. While transfers do happen, ambulance transfer is rare; most transfers occur because the birth is taking very long and the mother is tired and needs medical assistance to augment her labor. We are located in close proximity to three hospitals and will transfer your medical care according to the plan that was developed prenatally. In order to ensure that you are always supported, one of our staff will remain with you for the remainder of your birth and during the immediate postpartum period.
How long can I stay at the Birth Center after giving birth?
After you’ve delivered, you and your family will have time to bond, recuperate, breastfeed and get to know each other. Discharge is usually 48 hours after birth. We offer massage, delicious food, lactation support, and top-notch care during your postpartum stay. There are no visiting hours and we do not wake you to take your vital signs. These hours are precious and when honored appropriately, can help prevent postpartum depression, encourage good milk supply and quick recovery. Most families stay between 24-48 hours. A midwife will then come to your house on day three to check up on you and baby.
When do I make my first appointment?
As soon as you have a positive home pregnancy test. We can formally confirm your pregnancy with a simple blood test if you desire.
Can my partner or my other children attend my appointments and birth?
Absolutely! You are welcome to bring whomever you wish. Prenatal appointments are a great opportunity for your partner to meet the midwives and have his or her questions answered, and for your children to get comfortable with the midwives and participate in your pregnancy and birth. We have no limits on the number of people allowed in the birthing suite during labor and delivery.
How long are appointments?
The initial visit is about an hour long and routine prenatal appointments after that are typically 30-45 minutes long. During this time we discuss all your needs and concerns. Prenatal visits allow us to get to know each other, address questions and concerns, check in head to toe, and most importantly, create an atmosphere of trust.
Do I need to take my baby to a pediatrician?
While routine midwifery care ends at 6 weeks postpartum, the midwives at Canyon are also Naturopathic Doctors and so are able to continue pediatric care. Watching the babies they deliver grow up is perhaps the best part of their work!
Does insurance cover midwifery services?
Many insurance companies cover midwifery fees and out of hospital deliveries. We will ask you for your insurance information when you schedule your consult so our billing service can perform a complementary verification of your maternity benefits. You will then be able to review these benefits, and a financial agreement if you wish, at the time of your consult.
Do you accept MY insurance?
We will bill your insurance for care provided. We will also be able to let you know if we are in-network or out-of-network with your insurance company. This will impact how your insurance covers your care. Keep in mind that since our services are charged at a lower rate than hospital care to begin with, even if your care is only covered at the out-of-network rates, we still may end up being a more affordable option.
How much does it cost?
The actual cost for care is what we will bill your insurance company. Keep in mind that the full fee cannot be determined prior to care as we do not know what tests and procedures each person will need to utilize in advance, so we make our best estimates. You will only be charged for services provided and these services are generally 40-60% less expensive than similar services provided in the hospital setting.
A non-refundable deposit of $250 is due by your second prenatal visit. This deposit goes towards your copay and will reserve your spot on our calendar. Your estimated financial responsibility for the birth is due by 36 weeks of pregnancy.
This amount is based on your individual insurance coverage, deductibles, and co-insurance amounts. You can expect to have the out-of-pocket expenses of your co-insurance and deductibles regardless of location of birth: home, birth center, or hospital.