FAQ

Why choose a midwife?

The midwifery model of care differs fundamentally in its approach to pregnancy, labor and birth. Unlike the medical model which defines these processes from a pathological perspective, midwives view pregnancy and birth as normal, natural processes with physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and financial components. The midwifery model of care is characterized by:

  • Respectful treatment
  • Personal attention
  • Education
  • Confidence in women’s bodies
  • Continuity of care
  • Appropriate monitoring
  • Trust in the process of labor and birth
  • Fewer interventions (including Cesarean section)

The word midwife means “with woman” and our care is very time intensive. Midwives spend about 45-60 minutes at each prenatal visit. (A typical visit with an obstetrician is about 5-10 minutes, after waiting for up to an hour or more!) We spend this extra time getting to know our clients, addressing concerns, answering questions, and providing plenty of information. Midwives know that feelings, hopes, fears, physical and practical needs, and spiritual or religious beliefs can all affect your pregnancy and birth. We aim to address all of these needs so you can give birth naturally, safely, and confidently.

Midwives focus more on the importance of nutrition and exercise than most doctors do. We help to empower you to discover your body’s ability to give birth in its own way and its own time and to trust the process and yourself. Midwives provide sensitive, attentive care throughout your pregnancy and birth. We provide continuous, one-on-one support and monitoring throughout labor. In the hospital setting, doctors follow an on-call schedule so you may not have the same doctor during your birth that you had during your pregnancy. In addition, doctors do not come in until you are about to push your baby out, so it is the nurses who will be with you during most of your labor.

In the midwifery model, you have the peace of mind that the midwife with whom you developed a trusting relationship during the pregnancy will be the one with you when you’re giving birth. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) statement on Health Promotion and Birth in 1986 “Midwives are the most cost effective and appropriate primary care givers for all pregnant women in all instances and all settings”. Finally, the midwifery model of care results in less chance of complications, fewer interventions (including cesarean section) and a healthier birth for you and your baby.

Whereas the cesarean rate for an obstetrician typically ranges from 25-50%, the cesarean rate for midwives is usually 3-10%, well below the World Health Organization’s recommendation for safe cesarean rates.

Over the last twenty years numerous studies have been done to determine the safety of out-of-hospital birth. All of these studies have shown that home or birth center birth with a skilled attendant are just as safe, and in some instances, safer than hospital birth for healthy, low-risk women. In fact, the countries in the world with the best birth statistics are those in which midwives are the primary care givers for pregnant women and the home birth rate is much higher (as much as 50%) than in the United States. Of course, there are some situations in which the hospital is the best place for a woman to have her baby, and for these situations we are grateful to have the hospital as an option. But the fact is, out-of-hospital birth is a safe alternative to hospital birth for the vast majority of women.  Perhaps we should be asking a different question altogether.  Is hospital birth safe?  In fact, for low risk women, the hospital has never been proven to be the safest place to give birth.  The U.S. spends more money on maternity care than any other industrialized nation and yet we have some of the worst outcomes. The latest raking is that the U.S. is 50th in the world for maternal mortality and 41st in neonatal mortality.  Approximately 98% of births in America take place in the hospital.

At the first prenatal visit, the midwife will obtain a complete medical history and determine whether you would be a good candidate for an out-of-hospital birth.  To read an article published in the British Journal of Medicine on the outcomes of planned home births with Certified Professional Midwives Click HERE.  For a more recent Dutch study go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22888411.

I generally start prenatal care around 10 weeks.  At this time the pregnancy is more established and we begin to be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat.  Before this visit it is important to take a prenatal vitamin, including folic acid, and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.  Eating small amounts of protein foods every 2-3 ours will help to reduce nausea.

Yes, you may switch to my care at anytime in the pregnancy, although it is preferable to begin care as early as possible to foster a relationship of trust with your midwife.  If you decide to transfer care I will have you complete a request for your medical records in order to obtain your records from your previous provider.

While good prenatal care will a pick up or eliminate most complications during the pregnancy, there is always a possibility that a complication may arise during labor.  For this reason midwives are trained in handling several kinds of emergency situations and also know when transfer is appropriate.  Bellymama Midwifery works with several back up obstetricians in case there is a need to transfer to the hospital for any reason.  The vast majority (98%) of transports in labor are for non-emergency reasons and transfer is done by private car to the hospital of the back up physician.  In the case of a true emergency transfer would be by ambulance to the nearest hospital with an obstetrical unit.  An emergency care plan is completed for each client by the 36th week of pregnancy to outline the plan for emergencies.  The midwife accompanies the woman and her family to the hospital to provide support and facilitate a smooth transfer of care.

The price for care from the beginning of pregnancy to the end of the postpartum period is $4800.   This includes prenatal care, birth care, newborn care, breastfeeding assistance, filing of birth certificate, and postpartum care, as well as basic labs and  one ultrasound.  It does not include genetic testing, birth kit, or childbirth classes.  If you enter care part-way through your pregnancy reduction in price will be made according what care you have already received.  The Deluxe package is a separate fee of $500 and includes all the services listed here DeluxePackage  Each of these services can be requested separately as well.  Placenta encapsulation is $250.

If you are self pay a payment plan can be set up for you.  Payments may be made in small increments throughout the pregnancy or all at once, as long as you are paid in full by 36 weeks.

Yes! According to Florida state law care by a Licensed Midwife and the option of home or birth center birth MUST be covered by insurance.  However, there are some exceptions.  If you carry insurance from another state or federal insurance, they may or may not cover services.  Also, if your insurance plan is self-funded they can choose not to follow state laws.  Often you can appeal and services will be covered but you have to be committed to the appeal process.  I have worked with the following insurance companies in the past:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • United Healthcare
  • Humana
  • Avmed
  • Aetna
  • Cigna
  • GEHA Southcare
  • Coventry

I also accept Medicaid.  There are some fees that are not covered by insurance or Medicaid, including childbirth classes, birth kit, and assistant midwife at the birth.  You may also be responsible for any deductibles, co-pays, or co-insurance, depending on your plan.  The total amount due may be paid in small amounts throughout the pregnancy or all at once as long as it is paid in full by 36 weeks of pregnancy. To check you benefits and eligibility go to expressclaims.org.  Payments may be made in cash, by check, or by credit card.