It’s normal to have questions! We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions we get here, for your reference. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using the Contact page!
What is a midwife?
A midwife is a trained health professional who helps women with their reproductive health throughout their lifespan – from puberty to menopause and beyond. We take an evidence-based approach to care, for both natural births and holistic gynecology (Well Woman Care). Our goal is to empower our clients to take ownership of their body and their health.
We support expectant moms during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and after the birth of their babies. We can deliver babies at home or in the hospital, depending on the needs and desires of the families they work with.
What are the overall advantages of midwifery care in pregnancy and childbirth?
There are many great benefits to working with a midwife.
More personalized and individualized care. Most doctors do not have a lot of time to spend with patients. Each HeartSpace appointment is an hour long, giving you ample opportunity to ask questions and feel informed. We want you to feel supported in your process.
Empowerment. This is your baby and your birth. We respect your decisions. Our job is to educate and inform so you can make the best possible decisions that work for you and your family. Each family is unique and has its own needs and priorities. We help you identify what those are and come up with a plan to support those.
Whole family care. Midwifery care is not just about mom and baby. The whole family is a part of the birthing process – partners, other children, even friends. We strive to integrate your existing support systems with our care.
You want a natural birth. Many of our clients come to us because they want a natural, non-interventive birth. Our job is to empower you to find the path through pregnancy and birth that makes the most sense for you and your family.
The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes.
The Midwives Model of Care includes:
Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
Minimizing technological interventions
Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention
The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.
Is home birth safe?
It absolutely can be! There are some contraindications to home birth, but most healthy women are able to give birth at home, if they choose. As midwives, we’re trained to handle possible complications that may arise during delivery, and we partner with local hospitals if birth complications are outside the scope of our practice. Rest assured, you are in capable hands!
What's does care look like during pregnancy and birth?
One free initial consultation for new potential clients
Family-centered home birth services for low-risk, normal pregnancies
Comprehensive prenatal care, including nutritional counseling and natural healing modalities, in our office every month until 32 weeks, then every two weeks until 36 weeks, then every week until delivery
Home prenatal visit at 36 weeks
Lab work, ultrasound, and medical consultation by referral as necessary
Extensive local resource network available for doula services, childbirth education, acupuncture, massage, etc.
Water birth – labor and/or deliver your baby in a birth pool. Pools are available for rental directly from HeartSpace Midwifery
Continuous care and support by the midwives in the immediate postpartum period (3-4 hours after the birth)
Breastfeeding information, instruction, and ongoing support
Complete postpartum care for mother and baby for 6 weeks after the birth
Newborn Screening Tests
We work with our clients during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. All visits are included as part of the investment in home birth.
To book a consultation, please visit our Services page.
Does insurance or Medicaid cover your services?
Most insurance companies will cover a portion of the services of a Licensed Midwife. We will work with you to determine your own and your insurance provider’s responsibility for payment.
We started HeartSpace to serve our clients, and we know that insurance is not where it should be when it comes to supporting natural birth. We’ll work with you to create an affordable payment plan that works for you and your family.
All visits are included as part of the investment in home birth.
To book a consultation, please visit our Services page.
How long have you been practicing and how many births have you been the primary responsible midwife? How did you receive your training?
Heidi has been attending births since 1994 and Maureen since 2004. In that time, they’ve caught more than 2,000 babies.
Maureen has her Masters in Midwifery and is a Certified Midwife, licensed in New York.
Heidi holds a Bachelors of Science in Midwifery and is a Certified Midwife, licensed in New York and Vermont.
Are you certified or licensed?
What happens if complications occur? What if I need to see a doctor?
Appropriateness of midwifery care is monitored throughout pregnancy. HeartSpace maintains collaborative relationships with a variety of high-risk providers in the area that we consult with or refer to as needed. We work with our families to maintain optimal health and prevent risk factors from developing, but, if risk factors do develop, we have many resources in the area to help meet the needs of more complex cases.
What’s your hospital transfer rate? What’s your Cesarean rate?
Our latest statistics show 93% of first time mothers deliver at home as planned. Rates for subsequent deliveries are even higher. The World Health Organization states that the expected safe percentage of C-Sections should be about 12%. Home birth midwives work with a select group of healthy women, so our rates are typically lower and come in between 5-8%, compared to the US national average of 35%.
In what situations will you transport?
Intrapartum transport is typically for non-reassuring fetal heart tones or thick or particulate meconium in the amniotic water. Postpartum transports may be for a baby with respiratory distress that needs more intensive support or for a postpartum hemorrhage that requires advanced follow-up after initial stabilization.
What complications have you handled? How did you handle them?
Complications can arise wherever birth occurs. We are trained to recognize potential complications before they occur and will choose to transport prior to an emergency arising. Midwives are trained to handle a variety of complications in the home setting including, but not limited to, cord around the baby’s neck, postpartum hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, neonatal resuscitation, and suturing. We carry appropriate medications, supplies, and skills to deal with complications as they arise, but, as always, our goal is to prevent complications whenever possible.
When will we meet during labor?
We will have many discussions prenatally about how labor may progress and when to call us. We will likely be in communication during early labor, and typically we come to the home as labor shifts into the active phase. We are available throughout labor to facilitate smooth progression throughout.
Who is present for the birth?
At least two members of the HeartSpace team are present at births. You will have at least one midwife and one assistant. Often two midwives are present. You may choose to have whatever support people you wish at the birth. We encourage any support people, including partners, family members, or doulas to attend at least one prenatal visit so they can be comfortable with the team and have the opportunity to ask any questions or express any concerns. We find having concerned family members come to meet us helps to assuage any fears they may be having about your plans.
How long do you stay after the birth?
Typically we are at the home for about 3 hours after the birth, although we’ll stay longer if needed. During this time we are assessing mother and baby, supporting family transition, helping with the first newborn feeding, cleaning, completing a full newborn exam, assuring family support systems are enlisted to help, and giving family instructions on what to expect in the first 24 hours of life.
How often do we see you postpartum and what happens at those visits?
We return 24-36 hours after birth to check in on mother and baby. This visit also includes the NYS mandatory Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) Screening, assessment of breastfeeding relationship, and assessment of physical and emotional well-being of the mother/baby unit.
We come again at 3-5 days postpartum to again assess mother/baby, feeding and adjustments, and to ensure support networks have kicked in.
One week after birth we come again to the home to assess mother/baby and to perform the NYS Newborn Metabolic Screen (AKA PKU or “heel prick”).
Between weeks 2 and 3 we will have one more home visit. Around the six-week mark clients come back to the office for one last wrap-up visit where we get to see beautiful babies and help parents prepare for family planning options, perform follow-up care as needed, and generally catch up with the growing family as life takes on a new sense of normal.
How do you help with pain during birth?
Most women can cope with the challenges of labor when they feel well-supported in the environment of their choosing. We come with years of experience that informs our ability to provide individualized support for each woman as she faces the challenges of labor. Our “tool kit” is expansive and includes comfort measures ranging from the use of water, touch, verbal encouragement or reassurance, suggestions for maternal positions to maximize fetal descent and maternal comfort, and simply the presence of someone who believes in the innate wisdom of women and babies to find their way through the process together.