Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to our frequently asked questions. If your question is not listed here, please contact us and we will be happy to answer you.

What kind of woman does Orange County Midwifery care for?
We care for healthy women who are free of major medical or obstetric problems and who are seeking an active role in their pregnancy and birth with minimal intervention. They must live within a 1-hour driving distance to one of the midwives.

Why don’t you take clients that live farther than an hour?
The farther away your clients are, the more births you miss. We feel you are paying us for that service and we want to do our best to ensure we provide it. We are available to cover a very wide area of Southern California. Areas of service range from Orange County to the Inland Empire, Riverside and San Bernardino County, and the Temecula Valley. If you’re not sure, call us and we’ll be happy to help you or refer you to a midwife who can.

What is considered a 'Low-Risk' pregnancy?
We only deliver babies at home to women who are expected to have a good, normal outcome for both mother and baby. By maintaining healthy lifestyles – eating right, exercising, avoiding harmful substances such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco and pesticides most of our clients remain low-risk. Some conditions that would not qualify you to deliver your baby at home are diabetes, epilepsy, HIV, hepatitis, heart disease and severe hypertension. Conditions occurring during pregnancy such as anemia, gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia could also cause you to ‘risk-out’ although these conditions can often be prevented or even reversed with proper prenatal care and nutrition. The focus of midwifery is to prevent problems from occurring, not just treat problems as they occur. Very few of our clients have ever needed to be transferred to an obstetrician due to risk factors.

How soon should I begin my care?
You can call if you think you are pregnant and we will be happy to do a free pregnancy test. Most women try to schedule a first appointment around 6 week’s gestation. Statistics show that women who start early prenatal care have fewer complications and better outcomes.

Does insurance cover midwifery care?
PPO Insurance almost always covers homebirths and we’ve had a few instances of HMO’s doing so. In California, if you have maternity coverage on your policy, the law mandates coverage for Licensed Midwives. Although your policy may cover midwifery and homebirth, many insurance companies do not pay the total fee for services, in spite of what they claim to do. We will do our best to help you get the maximum reimbursement from your insurance company.

Do you take credit cards?
Yes, we accept payment by credit card through Pay Pal for an additional 4% processing fee.

What vitamins or supplements should I take?
Although we believe most vitamins should come from a healthy diet, our preferred prenatal is Rainbow Light Prenatal vitamins. We also recommend taking a good quality fish oil, Calcium/Magnesium supplements as well as acidophilus, flax seed and plenty of garlic. These are all available at health food stores such as Trader Joes, Henry’s, Whole Foods, Clarks and Nature Health.

How much weight should I gain?
We believe it’s more important to ask, “What are you eating?” We monitor your weight gain to make sure you are gaining enough but we do not lecture about "gaining too much weight." Some women will have perfectly healthy pregnancies while they gain a lot of weight. Others can be unhealthy but have seemingly "ideal" weight gain. For this reason, at your first visit, you are asked to fill out a diet diary of everything you eat for at least one week so we can assess your nutritional needs. We continue to do nutrition counseling throughout your pregnancy. For more info on pregnancy nutrition, visit .

What about childbirth classes?
Please visit our childbirth class information on our services page.

Do you have books or videos that we can borrow?
Yes, we have an extensive lending library, with books and videos covering many topics, including baby names, breastfeeding, labor and birth, nutrition, massage, parenting, immunizations, herbs and books for children.

Do I have to see a doctor for lab work or tests?
No. As licensed midwives we have lab privileges and can order any lab work or ultrasound that you may need. You will have the option of having all the same tests that are available with a physician and we will either draw your blood or have you go to the lab for them to draw it. If a client were to choose to have amniocentesis we would refer her to an obstetrician.

What lab work do you routinely order?
At the first visit we order your prenatal panel which includes a Complete Blood Count (CBC), blood type, Rh factor, antibody screen, rubella titer (German measles), Hepatitis B and Syphilis. At risk clients will be screened for HIV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Around 32 weeks we repeat the CBC to check for the presence of anemia and offer a vaginal culture for Group B Strep. We usually do pap smears at the 6 week postpartum visit. If our clients choose to have Alpha-feto protein test (AFP) through the State of CA, we can draw that too.

You don’t routinely order ultrasound?
No, we believe ultrasound can be a useful tool but isn’t routinely necessary. Some women want ultrasound and when making an informed decision we respect their choice to do so.

We have a tiny house, will I have room for a homebirth?
That’s a common concern but rest assured, babies can be born just about anywhere. We’ve delivered babies in nearly every type of ‘home’ - from a 10x10 rented bedroom to mansions by the beach to motor homes. A clean, warm space is all you need.

What will I need to do to get ready for my homebirth?
Less than you might think! You will need to gather a few supplies, clean sheets and towels, make up your bed with plastic and old sheets and keep food and beverages for your labor and postpartum. You will want to make sure that the spaces you plan to use for the delivery are reasonably clean and vacuumed. Additionally, you will need to select your baby's care provider and arrange for postpartum help.

Do I need to purchase a Birth Kit and other supplies?
Orange County Midwives includes your birth kit in our fee (an appx. $50.00 value). Our birth kit has all the basic supplies that you’ll need for the birth and postpartum. There are other supplies that you will need to purchase for your birth that have a minimal cost such as plastic sheeting to protect your bed and floors, additional sanitary napkins and a baby thermometer. Most items are things you have around the house. We will give you a complete list. There are a lot of wonderful homebirth supplies that can be purchased from companies such as In His Hands Home Birth Supply and

What about special equipment and sterile supplies?
We will bring all the medical equipment needed at the birth, as well as sterile instruments. We also provide you with a birth kit, which contains all the disposable clean and sterile supplies, like exam gloves, that you will need at the delivery.

What do people who have home births do about the mess?
Home births are usually very tidy and we try to be careful. We recommend protecting the floor and bed and having plenty of towels – all of which can be thrown in the wash and soaked afterwards. Occasionally there will be a few drops of blood on carpeting (usually when mom gets up to go to the bathroom) which be cleaned with cold water and hydrogen peroxide.

I want to labor in water and possibly have a waterbirth, where do I get a tub?
We provide an inflatable birthing tub as part of your Birthing Package. Some women prefer to use the Aqua Doula birth tub which is available at an additional rental fee.

When will the midwife come for my birth?
Because the midwife provides labor support and management as well as delivering the baby, she will usually be at your home for most of your active labor. We ask you to always call as soon as you think you may be in labor so we can be prepared to respond when you need us.

What will I do while I'm in labor at home?
For the most part, you can do whatever is comfortable, soothing and pleasing to you. This is one of the distinct advantages of homebirth. In the early stages, you might want to continue your household routine, or wrap up some loose ends in your life such as folding laundry, addressing birth announcements or watching a video. When the labor becomes more serious, you might walk around, rock in your favorite chair, take a hot shower or bath and relax.

Who can be at my birth?
You can share your birth with anyone that you choose. Some families choose to include their other children, grandparents, other relatives and close friends. Some hire professional doulas to assist them. Others prefer a very quiet birth with only the father and the midwives. It’s your birth!

How do you feel about children attending births?
We encourage family centered birthing and have books and videos to help you prepare your children for the birth. Children should know that they can choose to leave if they want to and they need to have a familiar adult to supervise and care for them. We love children and relate to them throughout your prenatal care so they are familiar with us by the time we come to your birth. We find they usually do wonderfully at the birth.

What do you use to help women at home manage their pain?
First we recommend that our couples take childbirth classes so they can be superbly prepared beforehand. During labor we take our cues from both mommies and daddies as to what they need. Some just need a hand to hold, eye contact and reassurance. Others need “Verbal Anesthesia” - talking them through the contractions, reminding them to breathe, reassuring them and praising their work. We also encourage mobility and frequent changes of position, rhythmic and repetitive movements, making noise, aromatherapy and homeopathics. Of course, nothing compares to an “Aqua Doula” (using deep water immersion). When needed we lavishly use coaching and support for mother-to-be and her family so that labor, while challenging, is a good experience for all.

What position will I be in for the delivery?
There is no one perfect position in which to deliver a baby. Some women prefer to sit or recline on the bed, a birth stool or on the floor. Others stand up or squat down, kneel or lay on their side. Many choose to deliver while in the birthing tub. Our midwives can also suggest positions which may help you to be more comfortable, or enhance your delivery. Your perineum will be supported with counter pressure and warm compresses. This usually feels really good and helps you relax your bottom. Tears rarely happen, but if they do, we are prepared to suture.

What happens after the birth?
Baby is placed where she belongs, on your tummy where she makes her gentle transition into the world, begins to breastfeed and integrates into your family. There is no rush to cut the umbilical cord and we never separate the two of you. After you’ve had time to bond we will do the newborn assessment and examine you. We make sure you have something to eat, assist you with the bathroom and showering and help clean up. We stay a few hours after the birth to make sure that both mother and baby are stable and usually leave the family snuggled up in bed together for a nice rest. We come back to check on the family within 24 to 48 hours.

What kind of newborn care do you provide?
We will do a newborn baby exam within the first two hours after birth – with the baby right by your side. We don't separate babies from their mothers. You'll have as much time as you want to bond with your baby and you'll be able to have anyone you want touch or hold your baby. Follow-up on the baby and further breastfeeding assistance is done at your postpartum visits. We will provide you with newborn treatment and immunization information - but keep in mind that notwithstanding State requirements, the decision on whether to use these interventions is up to the parents and many of our clients choose not to do some or all of these interventions.

What happens if everything doesn’t go ‘perfect’?
Our midwives are highly qualified to manage birth complications. Equipment for infant resuscitation is on hand. IV solutions and medications to control excessive bleeding after delivery are available if needed. Should you have a tear that requires suturing, we can do that at home, first numbing the area with a local anesthetic. We bring all the necessary medical equipment and supplies as well as herbs and homeopathics that may help mother and baby and allow them to safely stay at home.

Although homebirth is statistically safer, it does not guarantee a problem-free birth. If complications arise during the pregnancy, a woman may need to consult with and possibly transfer care to an obstetrician. If complications arise during labor or birth that are beyond the scope of care of the midwives, mother and baby would be transported to the nearest hospital.

What if a transfer to the hospital becomes necessary?
Most transports to the hospital are not emergencies, but rather arise from long, slow labors and tired mothers. In these cases, the client, support people and midwives travel by car to the hospital. In the event of an emergency, we will call 911 and the transfer will occur by ambulance. Your midwife will make every effort to accompany you to the hospital and stay with you. We highly recommend that our clients pre-register at their hospital of choice.

What percentage of Orange County Midwifery clients have cesarean sections?
About 2 percent – a BIG difference from the 25% national rate!

How do I get started?
Contact us and we will set up a free, 1-hour consultation for you to meet our midwives.

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''Having a highly trained obstetrical surgeon attend a normal birth is analogous to having a pediatric surgeon babysit a healthy 2-year-old'

~Marsden Wagner~

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