6 Things You Should Think About When Choosing a Midwife

September 21, 2016

Congratulations, you’re having a baby! One of the first major decisions that you will make as an expectant mother is what kind of care you would like both prenatally and for your birth. You need to decide whether you would like to go with an OB or a midwife. If you are selecting to go with a midwife, you also need to consider which midwife to go with. Here are some tips to help you choose a midwife.

Understand the Difference

When considering a midwife, it’s important to keep in mind the differences between an OB and a midwife. For example, regardless of their designation, a midwife will not be able to perform a c-section, should you need one. They also may not be able to take you on as a patient if your pregnancy has been deemed high-risk for any reason. So before going too far down the path, ensure that you are able to have a midwife in the first place.

Talk to Your Insurance

If you are living in the U.S., one of the first things you will need to consider is what is and is not covered by your insurance. Prenatal care can be quite pricey, so you will want to go with an option that is covered by your insurance group. Your insurance group will hopefully have several options that you can choose from in terms of midwifery care, but they may not, so better to know which options are covered before you go too far down the path of finding someone.

Talk to Other Moms You Know

Giving birth is an exceptionally personal experience. So, if other moms who you know and trust have good things to say, and recommend their midwives, that is one of the highest honors they can give. Remember that the midwife you choose will be someone who will be a very active part of your prenatal experience, as well as an important figure in bringing your child into this world, so take recommendations seriously.

Consider the Kind of Birth You Want

What kind of a birth do you want?

  • Would you like a home birth, a water birth, or a standard hospital birth?
  • Do you want drugs or would you prefer to go drug-free?

These are all things to consider when you choose your midwife:

  • Do they push hospital births or home births?
  • Do they specialize in water births?

Consider what you want, and try to find a midwife who will respect that, and even preferably specializes in that type of birth experience.

Do Your Research

Just as you would with a doctor or other healthcare provider, do some independent research. Is your midwife currently licensed by your local governing body? Have they had any claims or cases against them, and if so, what was the outcome?

If you live in the United States, you also need to understand the different types of midwives in order to better understand what kind of care you can expect.

There are Five Types of Midwives

1. Certified midwives: These individuals have been certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and may have some nurse or medical training, but are not certified nurses. They are typically affiliated with OB offices.

2. Certified nurse-midwives: The same as certified midwives; however, they are also a certified nurse, who then receives additional training to be certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

3. Certified professional midwives: They are designated by the North American Registry of Midwives, but work outside of hospitals, delivering babies in birthing centres or patient’s homes.

4. Direct entry midwives: Practice independently and have done an educational program that does not include nursing. Their education comes from either a college program or apprenticeship in midwifery. They will provide prenatal care and attend births in homes or birth centers.

5. Lay midwives: Have not received any certification and have no medical training. Typically practice alternative medicine. With very few exceptions, they will only be able to deliver babies at home and in some birth centers.

Keep the knowledge and designation of each type of midwife in mind when choosing a midwife, and think about which is the best option for your individual circumstances.

Remember, You Can Change Your Mind

Just because you meet with a midwife does not mean that you are obligated to use them for your birth. Pregnancy and birth are exceptionally personal journeys, as it involves your family, and deeply personal beliefs and feelings. You need to make sure that your midwife is someone with whom you feel comfortable, not only with attending your birth, but also discussing personal issues such as depression or anxiety, and someone you are comfortable relying on for things like breastfeeding help. Not every personality jives. If you meet with a potential midwife, and just don’t feel like they are the right person for you, then keep looking. It is important to go with your gut in this scenario.


Birth and pregnancy are such a personal journey, and you want to make sure that everyone involved in that journey is someone whom you can trust and feel comfortable with. Following these suggestions will hopefully help you to find a midwife who you are comfortable with and confident in, and who will help you to have a positive pregnancy and birth experience.

For more articles like this one check out the Pregnancy & Babies section of your blog.

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