At any time after you're pregnant, but usually at 6 weeks or later, you can contact us to arrange an initial free consultation to talk in detail about our services, for us to learn about you and your desires, and for us to give you initial paperwork. We also offer free pregnancy tests by appointment for anyone who thinks they may be pregnant.
These appointments are 2 hours long, are a relaxed way to learn more and meet other soon-to-be parents, and include potluck snacks. During the appointments, we go through the information we’re covering, such as gestational diabetes and GBS, then have short, private, individual appointments where we check you and baby, just as at an individual appointment. If you have any private questions, you should ask them here. If the answer is too long for us cover at the time, we’ll arrange a follow-up call. While individuals take turns to have their individual appointments, the rest of the group has an opportunity to seek and give advice on everything from back ache to car seats. You can attend these sessions in any order, but you should aim to attend gestational diabetes and GBS by 24 weeks, if possible.
Other services & providers 8:30am on 02/03
Prenatal yoga 8:30am on 02/17
Gest. diabetes & GBS 8:30am on 03/30
Vitamin K & medications 8:30am on 04/13
Labor 8:30am on 04/27
Your postpartum 8:30am on 05/18
Baby's postpartum 8:30am on 06/01
You should have an appointment roughly every 4 weeks until 32 weeks, then at around 34 weeks and then weekly from 36 weeks. If you plan to have gaps much longer than this between group prenatals, you should arrange individual appointment to fill these gaps. Additionally, if you're having a home birth, we will need to do an individual appointment at 36 weeks for a home visit.
If you decide you'd like us to care for you throughout your pregnancy and birth (and we feel this is a safe option for you), you will sign a contract and normally begin your prenatal care around 12 weeks with a 1-1.5 hour intake appointment, where we go through personal and family history and do a more in-depth (but not invasive!) physical exam. After this, there are two different types of prenatal appointment, and you can 'mix and match' them.
These appointments are 30 minutes long. During an average appointment, we'll measure your weight, blood pressure, temperature and pulse, as well as the height of your uterus, and will test your urine. Once Baby is large enough, we'll listen to the heart rate with a doppler, and later will also feel your uterus to determine the position your baby is in. If any of the monitoring raises any questions, we'll discuss them in detail and work out if we need to take any actions.
There will be time for us to talk about how you're feeling physically and, equally as important, emotionally. Some appointments will have additional things for us to talk about briefly, such as testing for gestational diabetes or Group B Strep, and topics such as any special ideas you have for during your labor or birth. All of these appointments will take place at the birth center, other than a 36-week home visit if you're having a home birth. At this visit, we'll help you work out where you might want to set up a birth pool, how to fill and drain it, and other logistics that you might otherwise have worried about.
These appointments will not cover the material in as much depth as the group prenatal appointments, but you'll have more one-on-one time with your midwife. We would recommend you attend the group prenatals for most or all of your appointments, e.g. at around 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 34 and 37 weeks (give or take a week or so on each) and then have individual appointments at around 36 weeks and weekly from 38 weeks until birth.
We do require that you have at least one ultrasound, namely an anatomy scan at 20 weeks. If you are uncertain of your date of conception, we'd strongly recommend an early ultrasound to help confirm this. If there are any concerns during the pregnancy, other ultrasounds may be desirable, and we ask you to have weekly ultrasounds from just over 40 weeks until delivery if you haven't given birth by then.
Once you're in labor or after your waters have broken, you'll be in frequent contact with your midwife. We may want to see you before you're ready for continuous ongoing care, particularly if your waters have broken. Once you're ready to stay at the birth center or for us to go to your house, we'll monitor you and your baby often. As the birth gets closer, this monitoring becomes more frequent. We will follow your lead, but will provide guidance as appropriate, and will help you with physical and emotional support. For labors at the birth center, you are free to move around between the outdoor and your choice of indoor suites as you like, provided there is no-one else in labor there.
At the birth, we'll encourage you to continue connecting with your body and your baby so that you can work with them and not against them. We can "catch" your baby for you, but would love to help you or a support partner with the catch, if that's something you'd like. Your baby would normally be held by you immediately, as we can do all necessary immediate monitoring on your baby in your arms, and we want you to be able to provide comfort and familiarity to your baby as they transition to life on the outside. We normally leave the cord intact until it has stopped pulsing, but this decision is up to you. We will continue unobtrusive monitoring of you and your baby and will help you with feeding, both of yourself and your baby. After the Golden Hour is over, you may want a soothing shower or simply a change of clothes while we perform a full newborn assessment on your baby, or you may want to watch us. After this, once we've checked that everyone is doing well, either you would leave for home as a new family, or we'd leave your new family at your home and head on our way.
Labor and Birth
Over the next couple of days, we'll continue having close contact with you, and would normally have an appointment with you 1-2 days after the birth and again 1-2 weeks postpartum (both normally at your home). If all is well, we'd normally see you again at the birth center, around 6 weeks after the birth. During these postpartum appointments, we'll check that you and baby are both looking healthy, will check your blood pressure, temperature and pulse, will weigh your baby, check your uterus and perineum and ask you about how you are both doing. As always, there will be plenty of time for us to talk through any questions or problems you may have, and if you need to see us more often, we'll happily assist!
Officially, at 6 weeks, you would graduate from our care. However, we always love seeing 'our' babies as they grow, so please do attend our Baby and Me Yoga sessions, come along for the second half of a a group prenatal sometime to share your wisdom, get in touch about visiting us, and/or email us some of those sweet photographs you'll be getting.