FAQs

Get answers to commonly asked questions about our practice at Midwifery and Women’s Health Care.

Q: Why Midwives?

A: Midwives treat pregnancy as a natural part of the human experience, not as an illness! Midwife means “with women”.  Midwives are specifically trained to assist women and their families in pregnancy, childbirth and the immediate postpartum period. Our practice is a mixed practice of CDMs and CNMs; both see our pregnant patients and our CNMs are able to do well-woman care.

What separates the midwifery model from the traditional medical model of care is that midwifery is:

  • A focus on health promotion and disease prevention that views pregnancy as a normal life event;
  • A partnership with women to promote self-care and the health of mothers, infants, and families;
  • An advocate for women so that their voices are heard in their own care, and in the community.

Midwives are experts in caring for healthy pregnant women. Between 75-80% of all babies born worldwide are born with midwives. In most of the world midwives care for low risk women (the norm) and physicians are utilized when a complication arises. Midwives believe that pregnancy and birth are normal events that we need to support and nurture, but not “manage”. Obstetricians, trained in the “medical model”, believe that pregnancy is fraught with risk and therefore needs medical management. Prenatal care with a midwife is more about shared decision making, partnering to support the family, and appropriate, rather than routine, use of intervention.

Q: Do you provide primary healthcare services to your clients or only services related to maternity care?

A: We offer a full range of primary care to our clients, including preventative care. (click here to see our list of services)

Q: At what gestation should I start my care?

A: Midwifery and Women’s Health Care suggests that women start their prenatal care between 8-10 weeks gestation. It is around that point in pregnancy where the midwife should be able to detect fetal heart tones.

Q: Are midwives able to provide full spectrum maternity care or do I need to also see a MD?

A: Midwives offer the full scope of care when it comes to maternity services. Families are offered all the same tests and procedures offered in regular OB care.

Q: Am I able to get ultrasounds within your office?

A: Our midwives are able to do limited ultrasounds within our office. Ultrasounds can be used for dating purposes, viability, fluid level checks and position verification. We refer out for more comprehensive ultrasound screenings.

Q:  What if I have a complication during my pregnancy?

A: At Midwifery and Women’s Health Care, we have a close collaborative relationship with an obstetrician, Owen Bell, MD. We meet regularly to review charts, and both he and his call group are available 24 hours a day to consult or collaborate, should complications arise. Should care be transferred to a physician during labor or birth, the midwives will remain involved in your care in a supportive role.

Q: WHAT IF I HAVE A CONCERN OUTSIDE OF NORMAL OFFICE HOURS?

A: MWHC always has 2 midwives on call. If a client calls the office after normal office hours, we have an answering service that will page, call and/or patch through calls to our midwives if necessary.  

Q: Can I choose which midwife I want at my birth?

A: Our practice uses a call schedule where 2 midwives are on call at all times. One of the benefits of a group practice is that during your pregnancy, you will be able to meet and form a rapport with all of our midwives. Our call schedule is strategically planned, as to not overtire or overwork the midwives; everyone gets equal call, and therefore you should have a well-rested midwife, that you are familiar with at your birth!

Q: Do insurance companies pay for midwives?

A: Yes. While each insurance company has different rules for the reimbursement of midwives, the Affordable Care Act mandates that maternity care be covered. MWHC is contracted with all major insurance companies and PPO networks. Should there be a question about whether or not midwifery services will be covered, please remember that your insurance company is the authoritative source of information.

Q: Do your Certified Nurse Midwives have prescriptive authority?

A: Our CNMs DO have prescriptive authority. Referrals can be made to a physician, if a midwife feels something is outside of her scope to deal with appropriately.

Q: What does high-risk mean (in regards to pregnancy)?

A: Depending on the condition, midwives can care for some high-risk clients in collaboration with a physician. Risk factors will be assessed throughout pregnancy, determining if a client is eligible or ineligible for an out-of-hospital birth. If it is determined that a client is ineligible for care in the birth center, they must plan to have a hospital birth with one of our CNMs (upon approval) or transfer care to an MD. Some of these risk factors are: maternal history of epilepsy or a seizure disorder, maternal history of diabetes, maternal history of a clotting or bleeding disorder, previous cesarean (VBAC’s are not allowed in birth centers, per State of Alaska guidelines, but our CNMs are able to do VBAC’s within the hospital, upon approval), multiple gestation, breech presentation, premature labor (<37 weeks)…