Choosing a Midwife

With my first pregnancy I had no idea where I wanted to deliver. I just assumed I’d give birth in a hospital with a standard OBGYN. 

After our first doctor’s appointment, however, everything changed.  They whisked us in and out of the office in just ten minutes and everyone, from the receptionists to the physicians, seemed tired and overwhelmed.  The hospital tour depressed me even more.  From the generic pastel wallpaper to the cramped rooms, I knew I didn’t want to deliver there. 

Finally, I had the good fortune to find out about our local Nurse Midwifery Birth Center, a clinic housed in a vintage house with six wonderful midwives, antique furniture and a more homey atmosphere for birth.  This ended up being the room in which our son was born!

Still, when I first found out about the clinic, I was a bit resistant.  Here were just a few of my concerns:

Will it cost more than a hospital birth?

Luckily our midwife center is covered by our insurance program.   Insurance companies realize that a midwife assisted birth is far less expensive than a hospital birth and since our midwives work closely with OBGYN’s, the liability costs stay under control. 

Will it be safe?

In over thirty years of operation, the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center has never lost a mother or a baby.  They refer high risk pregnancies to a team of OBGYNs and only allow low-risk pregnancies to deliver at the clinic.  If there is a possibility that the mother or baby will need more support because of medical issues, the midwife will accompany the mother to the hospital for the birth.

What if I can’t handle the pain?

It’s up to the patient to decide where she wants to deliver.  Pain medications can’t be administered at the midwifery center, but patients can be transferred to the hospital if pain meds are needed.    The truth is, I found that being able to move while at the birth center, use the crouch bar, sit in the tub, and try a variety of positions without being confined to a bed was extremely helpful.

If you’d like to see some photos of real families who used the midwifery clinic and plans for our new clinic to open up sometime in the next few years, check out this online video.  I have to warn you that it made me weep within minutes, but I’m pregnant so you may not have such an emotional reaction. 

I have LOTS more to say about the benefits of using a midwife so stay tuned next week for more details!


  1. i delivered my baby with a midwife at a birth center within a hospital, and it was ideal for us. i labored, delivered, and recovered all in one big, lovely room. we also had a doula, and i would do it all the same again.

  2. While we were unable to actually give birth at the Birth Center, we SO appreciated having the support of midwives for pre-natal check ups, during surgery for our first (emergency C-section due to pre-eclampsia) and a long, long labor with our second (successful VBAC at the hospital) and their care, guidance and understanding for when the real work comes after the baby is born is invaluable. In our experience, hiring a doula for the second time around was unnecessary (and expensive) – we ended up with amazing nurses, 2 mid-wives fighting over us and I’m lucky to have a great, supportive hubby. The video is amazing, thanks for sharing it with everyone!

  3. I’m so glad that you’re discussing choosing a midwife rather than an OB as an option. I’m looking forward to delivering with our CNM and doula here in a few weeks! Thanks for making people aware that OB’s are not the only maternity care providers.

  4. Oh it looks lovely 🙂

  5. With our first, we didn’t know anything about midwives so we did the traditional hospital birth. There was a comfort in knowing that in case of emergency I was taken care of but that wasn’t something we had to worry about. After we went home 2 days later, my husband and I discussed how we hated being treated more like I had a medical condition rather than something as natural as having a baby! Our second child was delivered with a wonderful midwife at a birthcenter and our third with a midwife at home! There was such a dramatic difference between the hospital experience and the midwife!!!

  6. Being excited and mix emotion that you feel you can think of the possible things that will happen soon and agree where will you deliver your child in the hospital or in your home only..midwife or a doctor..??..more questions in mind but be ready and prepare the necessary things.

  7. I gave birth with a midwife at a birthing center with a dulas in the room too. It was perfect. Right away i knew that the hospital wasn’t for me. If we hadn’t been in a teeny tiny apartment with razor thin walls it would of been a home birth…next time 🙂

  8. Oh how I wish we had something like this around here. We live in a very doctor run city and in a state where until just recently midwives could not legally deliever. (I know that law recently changed but I think it just made CNM the only legal midwives but I’m totally not up on that so I could be totally wrong.) We have very few options when it comes to childbirth around here. Hospital or home or drive 2 hours to the nearest birthing center – yeah not really an option! The hospitals aren’t great when it comes to wanting a non-medicated birth but I had my two girls sans meds and had a decent experience both times. If we were to have a third I would like to move to the north west just for the birth!

  9. The truth is, I found that being able to move while at the birth center, use the crouch bar, sit in the tub, and try a variety of positions without being confined to a bed was extremely helpful. oww

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