Midwife Interview Questions: Find the Right Support for YOU

If you have a low-risk pregnancy and want to have a natural childbirth, working with a midwife may be a great way to go (though some chose unassisted birth). While there are some naturally-minded obstetrician gynecologists out there, studies show that you’ll have fewer medical interventions, with no negative health implications on baby/mom, when you choose midwifery care.

In fact, moms who give birth with midwives are more likely to successfully breastfeed and less likely to experience perineal lacerations (ouch!) when compared with others. Additionally, according to the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, “the evidence now shows midwife-led units to be safer than hospital for women having a straightforward (low risk) pregnancy.”

Before we start – a special gift for you

Here’s an exclusive printable midwife interview questions one-pager we made just for readers of this post! Click here to get it!

How to find a midwife

So, no doubt about it, a midwife is a huge asset when planning to have a low-intervention birth. But, how do you find one? Well, word of mouth is the best way. Ask any friends who have had a natural childbirth who they delivered with. If that’s not an option, here is a web-based service that will connect you with local midwives in your area.

Once you have a few midwives to choose from, it’s important that you pick the right one for you by using midwife interview questions. After all, it’s never safe to assume that a midwife, even as inherently crunchy as the role may seem, will be as naturally-minded as you are. I’ve known midwives to recommend conventional things like Tylenol, Benadryl, the flu vaccine, the Glucola drink, and routine antibiotics with GBS positive.

So, it’s important to interview your midwife to be sure you are in sync. This will ensure that your desires for natural birth and postpartum care will be honored as much as possible. Here are midwife interview questions that are important to ask before you agree to work together.

Midwife Interview Questions

Midwife Experience:

✓ How many years have you been practicing?
✓ How many babies do you delivery on average yearly?
✓ Where did you receive certification?
✓ Do you take CE (continuing education) classes?
✓ Are you state licensed?
✓ Are you a member of any associations for midwives?

Midwife Appointments:

✓ How often will I have appointments scheduled?
✓ What will happen during each appointment?
✓ What type of payment plan do you offer and what do your fees include?
✓ Can I bring a family member(s) to my appointments?
✓ Are you on punctual with appointment times or is there usually a wait?

Medical Requirements:

✓ Do you have/use a fetoscope?
✓ Do you require the use of dopplers?
✓ Do you require an ultrasound and/or vaginal exams?
✓ Do you require the gestational diabetes test? Is there any alternative to the Glucola drink?
✓ Do you test for GBS+? What is the course of treatment if a mom is positive?
✓ Do you recommend vaccines for pregnant women?

Birthing Experience:

✓ Do you offer home and/or water births?
✓ Do you do VBACs? What is your success rate like?
✓ Do you allow delayed cord clamping? How about delayed bathing?
✓ What do you typically recommend for pain management during labor?
✓ Do you encourage pregnant moms to use doulas? Or get chiropractor care?
✓ What does the 1st hour after birth look like? Do you encourage skin-to-skin contact with baby and mom?
✓ Do you encourage moms to breastfeed? Do you know what a proper latch looks like and best positions for newborns? Do you have lactation consultants you recommend?
✓ What is your postpartum care plan for myself? Baby?

Emergency Situations:

✓ Have you completed training in neonatal resuscitation?
✓ How do you handle situations when the baby is breech during labor?
✓ Which hospital(s) are you approved for working in case of an emergency?
✓ Do you have experience with postpartum hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, breech baby or cord prolapse?

Medical Interventions:

✓ How long after my due date do you allow women to go?
✓ At what point do your patients/clients become too high risk to work with?
✓ Which physicians are you affiliated with in case of transfer of care because too high risk? Do you have personal relationships with them?
✓ What percent of your patients end up with an epidural? With a Caesarean? With a forceps or vacuum extraction delivery?

Personal Character:

✓ Do you have children yourself? Did you use a midwife during your own deliveries?
✓ Are you a good decision maker?
✓ Why should I choose you to deliver my newborn? What sets you apart?
✓ What is your style or bedside manner?

Miscellaneous:

✓ Do you have any vacation/trips planned during the month of my due date?
✓ What was the most successful birthing experience you were involved in?
✓ Have you ever lost a baby or mother during a delivery?

Remember, your midwife works for you

The above midwife interview questions are not an all-inclusive list and some you may skip altogether. The important thing is to take the emotion out of it and ask the midwife the tough questions that are important to YOU. After all, you are hiring her for a job and an interview is part of the process 🙂

Your midwife will be one of your greatest assets and supporters in your natural childbirth. Choose wisely!

Get a printable version of these questions

Don’t forget to download my exclusive midwife interview questions pdf below!

How about you?

Have you used a midwife before? What were your midwife interview questions? Which questions were most important to you? Share with us in the comments below!

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth book

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9 Comments

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  1. I am pregnant with my sixth baby — and yes, I know that is crazy talk — but I have this comforting advice: a hospital birth with a doula can be great even of you are stuck with an OB. My first two babies were born in an Army hospital and there were not many options. (No doulas allowed either, but luckily that policy did not include my mother! :-P) And so while the OB on staff that night was super rude, (she didn’t end up delivering the baby; I ended up with a mid-husband by the time baby came) and it wasn’t quite as natural as it could have been, it was certainly a far cry from traumatizing — all because I had an advocate. Second baby, same hospital, and I had a midwife student doing her last birth as a student — which leads to my other advice: with each baby, it is easier and easier to do naturally because you know what you want and you get more respect from your midwife/OBs. I have gone on to have another hospital birth with #3, and it was fine, because no one could tell me not to walk, for example, as I was way to experienced to take such guff! #4 and #5 we’re born at home, yet it wasn’t as much different for me as it was the baby. (Babies are super spoiled to be born at home, Bee Tee Dubs, so I am a strong advocate. Plus, no one wakes you up every two hours to check your vitals after the birth!)

    In summary: one, a doula (or another experienced advocate) can make up for lack of a midwife if you are stuck without options. It helps if a doula is current on hospital interventions so that she can step on for you if needed and explain things — as a professional doula should be — but an old lady with four kids of her own (like my mom) will do in a pinch and can make a huge difference as well. And two, the more children you have had, the easier it will be to have a natural childbirth the way you want it because then *YOU* will be experienced with how you want things, saying no, and all that jazz. I am confident that no one could traumatize me, hospital or not, now — and six babies or not, confidence goes a very very long way.

  2. I have used a midwife for three births and currently planning to have another baby with a midwife. Two of those births were homebirths and one was at a birth center. My first homebirth and first out of hospital experience was while we were living in England and we had a wonderful experience. My midwife was everything a midwife should be. Hands off, trusted the process, trusted me, did not push any interventions, etc. She had delivered babies all over the UK, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. My birth was perfect. For my next baby we had moved back to the states. When it came time to find a midwife, I was forced through my insurance to find a CNM if I wanted an out of hospital birth. There was ONE in my area. I went to see her and I’ll never remember how cold her manner was. But my husband and I felt we had no choice but to go with her. I mean it was better than a hospital, right? Everyone else seemed to love her. Her little facebook group were obsessed with her. At my first appt she asked me how I was feeling and I replied that I was feeling great actually and not having many symptoms of morning sickness. And she actually said to me, “Well that’s not usually a good sign.” Who says that??? I continued to try to convince myself that it would be ok and if everyone else loved her than it must be my problem, not hers. Prior to going into labor, I was very stressed about who would watch my other kids because she seemed to encourage very strongly that children not be present. I didn’t have any friends to watch them, so I was just hoping my mother’s visit would last long enough for me to go into labor. Thankfully, my water broke the day before she had to go home. When my water broke, I remember almost feeling bad that I had to disturb her. She gave off the vibe that she didn’t like to be inconvenienced.. Then 12 hours go by with no contractions and I could tell more and more she was trying to get me to do everything I could NOT to go into labor until the following morning. But baby had other plans and I went off to the birth center at about 9pm. She funneled my husband and I into the birth room and left us there alone. I was under the impression that her birth attendants would act as doulas. She had dissuaded me from hiring an outside doula. But instead she and the birth attendants were hanging out in her office and only came in to take the baby’s heart rate. There were also plenty of rude comments such as “are you actuallly planning to have a baby or just sit in the pool all night?” Yes, that was said to me while I was in the birth pool. It was very distressing while in labor to feel like I was inconveniencing my midwife. I mean when you plan an out of hospital birth, I don’t know that many of us consider that a midwife could be as traumatizing as going to a regular OB. Anyway, there were also plenty of rude comments after the baby was born. I continued to think it was my problem since everyone else raved about her. I became pregnant again a year and a half later and went back to her again. She was the only option. I ended up having to transfer care at about 28 weeks because we were moving back to England and the stress of this midwife was just too much. As soon as I informed her that we were transferring care, she booted me out of her Facebook group for her “minions.”

    Anyways, I had that baby in a hospital and actually had a great experience even if it wasn’t my style. They respected me and it was a healing birth after the trauma of the previous one. My next baby was with another wonderful midwife in England. This midwife was absolutely amazing and so sweet and I had so much respect for her. She was there with me every second of the way. Now I’m planning my third homebirth back in the states and have just interviewed my midwife. I know now what I need and how important it is to feel comfortable. Having an out of hospital midwife isn’t enough. That birth center birth was more traumatizing than either of my two hospital births.

  3. As a home birth midwife, I’d say midwives are as different as OBs! Be SURE you ask the following, b/c MOST homebirth midwives have strict protocol about these:
    >Assuming Momababy are well,How long are you comfortable with me being complete before Baby comes?
    >Do you do ‘coached’ pushing?
    >Assuming Momababy are well, What if my waters break and no labor? What is your plan?
    >Assuming Momababy are well, How long are you comfortable w/me pushing before you transfer?

    I’d say that 90% of transfers have to do with one of these things, so find a midwife that jives with what you want.

  4. A home birth with a midwife is the way to go. My wife and I were really lucky to follow my sister-in-law’s steps and used the same midwife. She has been doing this for over 30 years and is one of the pioneers fighting for home births “rights” in the state of Arizona. She went over all the pros and cons of home birth and did not let us make a decision on the spot but sent us home with a later-day appointment. Even though she came highly recommended we went with our gut. We were looking for a natural, home birth, which she could deliver. But we also wanted it to be a silent birth, which she was willing to accommodate and even went to the extent of learning why we wanted it that way.

    During the birth of baby my wife’s water broke but she was not dilating. She informed that she would try everything in her power to have a home birth but her priority was the baby and we may have to end up in a hospital. If that were the case she would be there with us for the whole experience. We did a whole bunch of things, acupuncture, oils, pasta dishes (all natural as you can see) and we ended up having a great experience. A couple of hours after the birth of our baby everything was clean (I didn’t even notice the cleaning as I was with my wife and baby) and before I knew it my wife and I were deciding who would take first shift (for that 48 hour baby watch).

  5. Another good point to bring up about choosing a midwife at home or in hospital environment is what are the risks of both scenarios? I feel that this is rarely looked at in the natural birthing community. We all know the risks of having a hospital birth, but what are the real risks of having a homebirth with a midwife? I found that when I truly wanted to know the risks of homebirth it was much more concealed, and every midwife I spoke with have me the rosey glasses picture of homebirth when I REALLY needed honest information and statistics so that I could make an informed decision about having hospital emergency services or staying at home. I found that I had to get the information myself. The 2014 MANA study was a great resource. I wish this was more widely discussed in the natural birthing community. I wish that women were given honest, real information about homebirth vs. hospital birth and were able to make informed decisions vs. being lured into the rosy homebirth scanario or scared to death of hospital birth. In the end, I ended up choosing to go with a midwife at a hospital assisted with a doula. I looked at the information and made an informed decision that I was comfortable with, however the honest information was not easy to find.

  6. I currently have a midwife lined up, but am super stressed because my husband and I are having to move to another province where I’ve discovered finding a midwife to be impossible. The waitlists are out of this world and I’ve been turned away from every practice – in Canada midwifery is covered under our health care act, so it’s not as simple as finding a private midwife. Anyway, I’m SO freaked out now that I’ll end up with exactly the kind of birthing experience that I want so badly to avoid if at all possible. Everything I’m reading in this article is basically telling me that I’m hooped without the support of a midwife. I just want to cry! What can I do to ensure a “natural as possible” birth with an OB? These are great questions for a midwife – but about an OB or family physician?? I also live in a small city, so I’m not even sure that I’ll be able to find an OB that encourages natural child birth. Anyone with a similar experience?

  7. I agree with Erin. The midwives I interviewed all gave me very similar responses to my questions; in the end it came down to comfort and following my gut.

    I’m wondering if you have any tips for finding a pediatrician who is more naturally minded? After having such wonderful, informed care with my midwives, I’m finding the search for an equally wonderful pediatrician frustrating and slow. I’m in Chicago and would love to ow any tips or recommendations you have. Thank you!!

  8. I used midwives for all four of my births. Overall, the first midwife I had was not a good fit for me for various reasons. While interviewing her replacement, Most of the questions you have listed, I did ask. Because they ARE important. But I found that sometimes a person is perfect on paper, but personalities also have to mesh and work well together. Don’t get me wrong, the other midwives seemed very sweet and competent. They said all the right things. But for whatever reason, they just didn’t feel like the person I wanted delivering my baby.

    For me it really came down to meeting someone where I walked in and felt immediately at ease. My current midwife is awesome. Laid back, fun, thorough, listens to my wants, but really knows her stuff and will take action if needed. She laughs at all my stupid jokes. Laughing at my stupid jokes and not batting an eye when I ask weird questions for fun is a big deal for me. 😉

    As corny as it sounds, I think it’s sort of like meeting a friend or a partner. Sometimes you just “know.” lol.

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