With the exception of home visits for your 37 week prenatal check up and the post partum check up at 24-36 hours following the birth, all visits take place in our Columbia office and each lasts about 50 minutes. We meet monthly until 32 weeks, followed by every two weeks until 36 weeks, and weekly thereafter.
Two doctor visits
In addition to the midwife's care, two physician visits are required per SC Regulations, the first of which typically falls in the first trimester and the other within the last 6 weeks of pregnancy. The purpose of these visits is to verify that you are free of health problems that could possibly endanger the pregnancy or complicate vaginal delivery. This physician relationship is also valuable in that it allows us to consult on your behalf whenever needed.
Standard prenatal laboratory tests are offered in-office. For other testing, such as
ultrasound, we refer out.
Good midwifery care is holistic care. This means we visit with you as a whole person.
For instance, we are interested to know about your daily diet, your activity level and your emotional well-being. These are all areas that contribute to the health of your pregnancy and well-being of your baby. In fact, we like to remind you that prenatal care is mainly what you do between prenatal visits.
The clinical portion of your prenatal check-ups include a urine analysis, weight and blood pressure checks, measurement of your baby's growth and a listen to his or her heartbeat.
In the last trimester we also begin palpating your belly to determine baby's position.
During the course of pregnancy you will be offered information on tests and treatments that are considered standard in maternity and newborn care. We practice true informed consent with our clients, meaning before accepting or declining a test or treatment, we ask that you thoroughly research the available information, ask questions, so you may make responsible, informed choices and decisions for yourself and your baby.
Childbirth preparation classes
We strongly encourage all first time parents, as well as those who have not previously had a natural birth experience, to participate in a childbirth preparation class that is not taught in a hospital. New parents that have attended such classes have shown to be better prepared for birth. Area options are available upon request.
Labor and birth
We may assist you with your home birth once you have completed 37 weeks of pregnancy all the way up to arriving at 42 completed weeks.
Who's coming to my birth?
Your primary birth team will consist of myself and my assistant and licensed midwife apprentice Shayleen Sammons. We bring our doula skills to each birth as well. For guaranteed lovely pictures we suggest you arrange for a photographer, and it is entirely up to you who else you invite to your sacred birthing space.
During exceptionally busy times, a second Licensed Midwife may be invited as well. In an ideal world all births would be attended by two licensed midwives, but since we run independent practices this is not always feasible.
Did you know that only five percent of mothers spontaneously go into labor on their due date? This means that even two babies with nicely spaced due dates may choose the same day to be born. To be prepared for these rare situations we have back-up agreements between practices. We understand the importance of having only familiar faces at your birth, so whenever possible we will facilitate a meeting between client and all potential team members prior to the birth.
There is NO extra cost to you in the event the back-up midwife is called to attend your birth.
The big day
By the time the first changes begin to occur, you will have learned what signs to look for and how to make yourself comfortable in early labor. You'll be in touch with us by phone regularly throughout this phase. Once we have established that you are in active labor or when you ask for us, we will come to your home.
While we support you in finding your own way through your labor journey, we carefully monitor both mother and baby's well being in the most unobtrusive way possible.
For siblings who are present during delivery, we ask that an adult be designated to look after their needs, so that the parents can stay involved in the birth while the children can participate at their comfort level or are in a different location.
After delivery we stay for several hours to make sure you and baby are stable and breastfeeding is off to a good start. Mother and baby are never separated. The newborn exam will be done in your presence. You will be instructed on what is normal and what to report to us in the first 24 hours until we return to your home for another check the next day.
Your midwife team comes prepared to handle emergencies: we carry oxygen, resuscitation equipment and may administer certain medications to the mother after the birth of the baby in case of abnormal bleeding. We are trained and up-to-date in CPR and Neonatal Resuscitation.
Post partum care
The following day, between 24-36 hrs, we return to your home to check on you and baby. We will collect the Newborn Metabolic Screen (heel stick) and a copy of the results will be sent to your baby's doctor in about one week. We also perform the CCHD screening (Critical Congenital Heart Defects screening) at this visit, which is a quick and painless affair (read here Emerson Rose Foundation for information about this test). Both tests are mandated by SC State law. We will file the birth certificate paperwork for you with instructions on how to obtain a copy.
For additional visits such as weight-checks we may ask you to come to our office.
At six weeks we see you and baby once more for a complete check-up and to say our good-byes.
Throughout pregnancy your body grows an amazing organ, the placenta. It sustains your baby in the womb and it is born shortly after baby's arrival, hence the name "afterbirth". Before disposing of it, we inspect it carefully and, if you like, we will share this "exam" with you. Once this is done you get to decide its fate: there is the option of discarding it, of saving it for burial and perhaps planting a special shrub or tree on top, or to consume it as a supplement through placenta encapsulation.