Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS A MIDWIFE?
Midwives are experts in normal, natural birth. They are trained to recognize complications and either correct them or refer them to other more specialized providers. The midwives at Casa Natal are specially trained in out-of-hospital birth, such as at home or in a birthing center. We are licensed by the California Medical board, just like doctors, and continue to add to our knowledge through continuing education.
HOW OFTEN DO I SEE THE MIDWIFE?
We follow the standard obstetrical calendar for prenatal appointments:
every 4 weeks until 28 weeks gestation
once every 2 weeks from 28-36 weeks gestation
once a week from 36 weeks until delivery
CAN I GET AN ULTRASOUND?
Yes. While you are not required to have an ultrasound to be a part of our practice, they are available to you through our well respected sonographer. If, during the course of your pregnancy we suspect a complication, we will likely refer you for an ultrasound to confirm or rule it out. Some families feel more comfortable if at least one ultrasound is done to get a visual assessment of the baby before it is born. Some families like to know the sex of their baby ahead of time. We are happy to assist you with these requests.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GIVING BIRTH AT HOME?
It is our experience that many women feel most comfortable in their own nesting space. Also, you don’t have to drive anywhere in labor. All you have to do is call us and we come to you. We bring a birth tub and set everything up. After giving birth, you climb into your own bed with your baby and stay there. We stay with you and provide postpartum care for about 2 hours, then we dissemble any equipment and clean house as it was before we came. Home birth families say they experience peace, tranquility, a sense of safety and comfort, less distraction and disturbance during labor, and a sense of control being able to stay in and create their own sacred space for birth.
IS HOME BIRTH SAFE?
Many reports and studies are made about the safety of home birth. We recommend home birth as an option for women who are having low risk pregnancies and no sign of need for medical intervention. Throughout your prenatal care, your midwives will be monitoring your and your baby's well-being and suitability for home birth. If the occasion arises where you or your baby would be better served in a hospital birth environment, that recommendation will be made. We are all committed to the safety of you and your baby and will advise you accordingly.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GIVING BIRTH AT THE BIRTH CENTER?
The most important question to ask yourself in choosing where to give birth is where do you feel most comfortable? For many women, being in the privacy and serenity of the birthing rooms at the center is where they feel best. If you are concerned about not having much space at home, or you have a concern about privacy, the birth center could be a good choice for you. The rooms are like a bed and breakfast inn; beautiful and inviting. All you have to do is call us when you go into active labor and we meet you there. You just bring with you the things you’ll need for your baby. Everything is set up for you, you just come and we take care of you.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
A midwife is an expert in normal birth. She is trained to keep things normal, and if complications do occur, to recognize and correct them. The most common complications in birth can be safely handled by the midwife. That being said, there are very few complications that arise in healthy, low-risk women. If the need for hospital transfer arises, your midwife will facilitate it quickly and efficiently, and stay with you the entire time. Your midwife has working relationships with a variety of health care providers and knows when to transfer your care to one of them. Birth is a normal part of life and should not be treated like an emergency in a hospital setting unless warrented. Something very important to keep in mind though, is that so many of the interventions that are routine in the hospital (such as Pitocin and epidurals) actually cause more problems than they prevent in healthy low risk pregnancies. If you look at the countries in the world with the lowest infant mortality rates, you see that these countries use midwives and out of hospital birth for low risk women and they do so with excellent outcomes.
WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT IS AVAILABLE AT MY BIRTH?
Your midwife will have much of the same equipment that is available at the hospital. She has oxygen for both mother and baby if needed, a fetal monitor to assess the baby's well being thoughout labor and birth, and the same medications that are available at the hospital to control bleeding if necessary. She also has many other things tools to support you through your birth. Her most used tools though are her kind words, gentle touch and patience.
HOW DO I DEAL WITH FAMILY THAT IS NOT SUPPORTIVE OF MY BIRTH PLANS?
This is a tough question, because each family is different. We encourage you to invite your family members to come with you to your appointments and talk over any concerns with the midwife. Often this puts fears to rest. Some clients choose not to tell their family or friends the specifics about their birth plans until after the birth is done. But ultimately, you know your family best, and therefore know best how to interact with them on this topic.
WHO CAN I BRING TO MY BIRTH?
You can invite anyone you would like to have at your birth...after all, it’s your birth. Whether you give birth at the center or at your home, you get to say what works for you. We have a cozy lounge at the birth center that is there for you and your guests to make themselves at home. There is a full kitchen so you can bring food with you and your guests can make meals. Although we would not decide for you who should be at your birth, we do have some suggestions to support you based on what we’ve seen work well over the years, and can discuss those suggestions with you during prenatal appointments.
WHAT ABOUT MY CHILDREN? SHOULD I HAVE THEM AT THE BIRTH?
We love having children at births. We will include your child in what’s happening and reassure them if they get concerned. What we’ve seen over the years is that children usually do quite well at birth as long as they are prepared for what’s going to happen with books and videos beforehand. Having someone there whose only job is to support, reassure and care for them is really important too. This person can also take them out of the room if they decide they don’t want to be there. Being at the birth can really help your child understand and adjust to the new baby.
HOW LONG DO I STAY AT THE BIRTH CENTER AFTER THE BIRTH?
The usual length of stay is four to six hours. By that time, we know you’re stable and we’ve taught you how to care for yourself and your baby. Most families are ready to go home and climb into their own bed and sleep by then. We teach you about any danger signs and are available 24/7 to address any questions or concerns you might have.
HOW DO I GET A BIRTH CERTIFICATE FOR MY BABY?
You midwife will provide you will all the paperwork you need to register your baby's birth and obtain a social security number. We will also go with you to the County Office to register your baby and get your birth crtificate.