If you are considering a midwife then you probably know the benefits they can bring to childbirth.
Some of the main midwife advantages include a focus on vaginal birth, providing holistic care during and after your birth, and offering guidance and education on breastfeeding and newborn care.
So in this article we’ve taken a look at what a midwife costs, whether their fees will be covered by your insurance, and some of the other services midwives can (and cannot) provide.
How Much Does A Midwife Cost?
If you are wondering how much you can expect to pay for a midwife, the first thing to be aware of is there is no standard, one-size-fits-all when it comes to fees.
The cost of a midwife typically ranges from $2,000 to $8,000, depending on where you live and your preferred birth location.
In this fee you can expect care during your pregnancy (prenatal appointments or consultations), care during the birth and several postpartum visits.
It’s vital to check whether the use of facilities, ultrasounds and laboratory tests are included in the fee you may have been quoted, because these extras can significantly increase the total cost you will need to pay.
Is It Cheaper To Have A Baby With A Midwife?
Many moms-to-be wonder if there is a saving to be made by using a midwife.
On average, having a midwife is a cheaper option as the cost for routine prenatal care visits is usually cheaper than with an OB-GYNs (obstetrician-gynecologist), and is covered by Medicaid.
But to help you make the most informed decision, it’s best to speak with your insurance provider to confirm exactly what services they cover.
Do Midwives Accept Insurance?
Midwives and insurance is a historically complicated topic.
Nowadays almost all insurance providers cover midwifery services, but certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) may not always be listed in insurance provider directories.
So the best advice is to check with your healthcare provider and ask your midwife.
What Is A Midwife?
In simple terms, a midwife is a health professional who helps women during their labor, delivery and after their baby is born.
Is A Midwife A Nurse?
Certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses, but not all midwives are nurses.
To help understand further, it’s important to note that midwives can have several different levels of training:
- Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are registered nurses who have graduated from an accredited nurse-midwifery education program and have successfully passed a national exam.
- Certified professional midwives (CPMs) are non-nurse midwives who have training and clinical experience in childbirth, including childbirth outside of the hospital, and have passed a national exam.
- Certified midwives (CMs) are non-nurse midwives who have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a health field, have completed an accredited midwifery education program, and have passed a national exam.
- Lay midwives are not certified or licensed but have apprenticed or received informal training.
So as we can see, you should not assume that a midwife is necessarily a nurse, because even certified midwives (who are permitted to practice in many states in the USA), are not in fact nurses.
What Do Midwives Do?
Midwives are typically able to offer care before, during and after your pregnancy.
As such, their roles and duties may include:
- Provide family planning and preconception care.
- Do prenatal exams and order tests.
- Monitor your physical and psychological health.
- Assist you with your birth plans.
- Advise on diet, exercise, meds, and staying healthy.
- Educate and counsel you (and your partner) about pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care.
- Give you emotional and practical support during labor.
- Admit and discharge you from the hospital.
- Deliver your baby (more on this later).
- Make referrals to doctors if / when necessary.
Are Midwives Doctors?
No, midwives are usually not doctors (physicians).
Midwives typically work in hospital settings with obstetricians and gynecologists, and they often work together to ensure pregnant women have access to the care they need during childbirth.
Do Midwives Do Ultrasounds?
Some do offer and carry out basic ultrasounds, but many do not.
If a midwife is unable to provide a test or procedure (such as an ultrasound), they should be able to refer you to an obstetric practice or hospital with these services.
A midwife usually has a relationship with these practices or hospitals, and this is something worth investigating and thinking about when interviewing or choosing a one.
Do Midwives Deliver Babies?
Yes, midwives are able to deliver babies, but unlike doctors, they also deliver babies in settings outside a hospital.
A midwife may therefore deliver a baby in several ways and in several locations:
- Home births: for women with low-risk pregnancies who want to give birth at home.
- Freestanding birth centers: for women who want a home-like, non-medical environment but with the presence of a midwife and often with an OB-GYNs (obstetrician-gynecologist) on call.
- Hospital-based birth center: statistically the safest place to give birth, and where the midwife will be part of the wider team that includes doctors and anaesthetists (more on why these are important shortly).
Apart from delivering your baby, a midwife may:
- Monitor your progress during labor.
- Monitor your baby’s heartbeat
- Offer pain relief (either directly or by recommending stronger relief which an expert will administer via an epidural, which we cover below).
Do Midwives Do C Sections?
No, midwives are not trained or allowed to perform cesarean sections.
C-sections are done by obstetricians (these are doctors who care for pregnant women before, during, and after childbirth birth) and sometimes by family doctors (physicians).
Do Midwives Do Epidurals?
As with C-sections, midwives cannot perform epidurals.
Some can prescribe epidurals, but the actual procedure is carried out by an anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).
It’s worth noting that anesthesia providers are typically available in hospital settings only, so if you are having a home birth, you will not be able to have an epidural.
Should I Use A Midwife?
The choice as to whether or not to use a midwife comes down a lot to person preference and your individual circumstances.
You may wish to consider working with or using a one if:
- You are deemed to be a low risk pregnancy.
- You would like your childbirth experience to be as natural as possible.
- You value the emotional and practical support and advice that a midwife provides.
Related: Your Complete Guide To A Happy & Healthy Pregnancy