Thank you for inquiring about our services. The following information will give you an idea of our philosophy about birth and what working with us will be like. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is anything you don’t understand. We provide education and consultation throughout the childbearing season. We assist you by sharing our knowledge and understanding of natural birth and its normal variations, as well as identifying any interference to the process. We do our best to support you as you move through this challenging transformation.
The Midwifery Model of Care has been well documented and established as the best model of care with the best outcomes for the overwhelmingly large majority of low risk, healthy pregnant women. Family Life Midwifery, PLLC offers comprehensive care during pregnancy, labor and birth and the postpartum time, including initial newborn attention and care. Our practice offers homebirth care to low-risk, healthy pregnant women. Before you choose to receive your care with us, we want you to be fully informed. We feel quality care and a trusting relationship are best ensured when educated women make decisions regarding their care based on perceived needs and the provider’s scope of practice. A system of informed disclosure and consent fosters parent responsibility and caregiver accountability. We feel this affords optimal protection within the healthcare relationship for all concerned.
Homebirth offers a woman a great sense of empowerment in all aspects of her care. Surrounded by supportive people of her own choosing in a comfortable and familiar environment, a woman may feel remarkably less inhibited in expressing her natural and individual responses to labor. In addition, when labor and birth occur in the home, there is less interruption of family routines. Laboring women can, according to their own values, choose how to involve their children in the birth experience. Children, making their adjustments to new roles in the family, are not challenged with a lengthy absence of their mothers. Staying home to birth eliminates the difficult decision about when to go to the hospital or birth center during labor. Breastfeeding and family bonding are uninterrupted in their most natural setting. Statistically, fewer complications occur in the home. Homebirth has been studied and scrutinized and is statistically as safe (and in some cases considered even more safe) as giving birth in a hospital. Despite the expectation that labor and birth will unfold smoothly and without complication, we are trained and prepared to handle a broad range of possible scenarios and complications, including the transfer of your care to a hospital-based practice if this is determined to be prudent at any point in pregnancy, labor or immediately postpartum. We are able to be vigilant but non-interfering. All such challenging scenarios would be discussed prenatally and at the time, should such a time arise.
Having a homebirth requires a level of responsibility on the part of the woman and her partner to maintain optimal physical and emotional health and wellbeing. Should any change in that status deem you a less favorable candidate for a safe birth at home, it is possible that we may, together, determine it is better for you and your baby to have your care provided in another setting. If you transfer in labor, we will continue to provide ongoing support for you in the hospital setting under another primary provider’s oversight and supervision. We are committed to providing complete continuity of care for you from pregnancy through postpartum. It is our philosophy that, whenever possible, decisions about your care will be made in discussion with you, together. However, situations may arise in which the professional judgment of the midwife and/or a consulting physician must be relied upon exclusively for the safety of you and your baby. We endeavor to develop with you, through our prenatal visits and contact, a relationship of open, communicative trust such that, if that situation were to arise, we would have earned your trust in our judgment. Your records, physical examination and laboratory reports will continually evaluate the appropriateness of your status to have a homebirth. Do not hesitate at any time to ask questions about our practice or anything that concerns you, your baby or your family.
We will take every reasonable precaution to ensure your safety, comfort and satisfaction. We bring emergency equipment to the home, such as oxygen and medications. However, this does not render the home equivalent to hospital facilities that have equipment and personnel for dealing with serious problems that may occur. In any birth setting, emergencies can arise. Some unforeseen events may result in an unexpected outcome. While our care and your prenatal care are based on evidence and preventative health care practices, we cannot guarantee a normal birth, a homebirth or a healthy mother or baby and acceptance of a client for homebirth in no way constitutes any such guarantee.
Prenatal Care Appointments
Prenatal visits are a time to get to know each other and your baby and to make sure everything is progressing normally. You are taking care of yourself and your baby “24/7” – we would like to check with you about how that is for you. As you prepare to give birth and become a parent, we want to know how you are doing and to support you on as many levels as we can (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.) This is a time to ask questions and address any concerns you might have. Partners and siblings are encouraged to participate in these visits. Pregnancy affects your family relationships and it is helpful to explore and support this area of your life as well.
Usually, visits take place at the Center (downtown Albany or Saratoga Springs office.) They usually last one to one and a half hours and are done once every three to four weeks in the first 28 weeks of pregnancy, every two weeks from 28 weeks to 36 weeks and then weekly until birth. A home visit will be done at 36 weeks. This provides us an opportunity to find the way to your home and meet any other people who will be a part of your birth team. Together, we want to work with you to create an environment conducive to natural birth. We are easily available for consultations by phone and email. Our care includes but is not limited to:
- Initial, free consultation with discussion of our scope of practice and your pregnancy needs
- A complete medical history and physical exam
- Ongoing topics of discussion and clinical assessments at each prenatal include but are not limited to the following:
- Ordering and ongoing evaluation of all indicated or preferred lab work
- Ongoing review of your overall health status and that of your baby
- Routine assessment of mother’s urinalysis, blood pressure, wellbeing, and nutrition
- Routine assessment of the baby’s growth, fetal heart tones, position and reactivity to stimulation
- Ample time for both mother and partner to discuss any questions or concerns, including the role of older siblings
- Medical consultation or referral as needed
- Discussion of water birth options, tub rental and set-up
- Complimentary modality referrals as needed such as doula support, fitness, physical therapy, yoga, prenatal birth classes, chiropractic care and prenatal massage, nutritional support services, breastfeeding support and evaluation, placental encapsulation, mother/father support groups, infant and child support groups, and other community resources available to support pregnant couples and new families, including WIC and Healthy New York programs.
Pregnancy and birth are a most magical time in a woman’s life. Not only your body, but your heart, mind and spirit are growing and changing. We are honored to be with you and your loved ones as you experience this profound transformation.