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Midwives FAQs

What is Midwifery?
Certified Nurse-Midwives are primary health care providers that care for women through the transitions of their lives. As midwives, we model our care on the idea that these transitions are normal and we tailor our care to help each woman move through them as easily as possible.

Do the VCU midwives only provide prenatal care and deliver babies?
No. We see women for annual gynecological visits, assist with family planning / birth control and menopausal care.

Why should I choose the VCU midwives for my prenatal care and birth?
We provide prenatal care for women with low-risk pregnancies who wish to have unmedicated, natural births. We’ll help you explore birth options and explain the more holistic tools that we’ll use to support your labor. We will also connect you with community resources for additional support during your pregnancy and into parenting. We’re with you every step of the way - from prenatal care and labor, to postpartum care.

How do I make an appointment?
We offer appointments at two locations: Downtown at the Nelson Clinic, located at 12th and Marshall Streets, and also at Stony Point. Stony Point is located on the Chippenham Parkway extension just south of the Willey Bridge. To schedule an appointment, please call 804-828-4409 and say that you’d like to schedule a “New OB Visit” with a midwife.

What happens at the “New OB Visit?”
We’ll review your medical history and discuss how that may impact your pregnancy. We’ll also discuss pregnancy changes, nutrition and healthy choices, as well as what to expect throughout the different stages of pregnancy. Together, we will plan for lab work, ultrasounds and any testing that may be desired or needed.

If I want to participate in CenteringPregnancy® , how and when do I join a group?
The midwife you see for your New OB Visit will discuss CenteringPregnancy® with you, review the calendar and help schedule you into a group. You must meet with a midwife prior to joining a CenteringPregnancy® group.

What if I have been receiving prenatal care elsewhere but I want to transfer my care to the VCU midwives?
Please call 804-828-4409 and say that you would like to schedule a “New OB Visit” with one of the midwives. At your first appointment, we can request your records from your previous care provider. Many of our moms transfer their care to us in their second or third trimester. This is normal, and we will help make the transfer easy for you.

What if I am not sure Midwifery is right for me?
Please review our Approach to Prenatal Care and Birth to learn if our approach aligns with your vision. You are welcome to make an appointment with one of us to discuss our approach to care. Please call 804-828-4409 and say that you’d like to “schedule a consultation” with one of the midwives.

What if I have some health problems, but really want to birth with a midwife?
Please make an appointment with a midwife so that we can discuss your medical history and needs. We often partner with VCU Health physicians to co-manage mom’s care. We can be with you during labor and have a physician standing by to assist, if necessary.

Will I see just one midwife throughout my pregnancy?
No. We are a group practice. We provide care to each woman as a team. We discuss each mom’s birth plan as she gets closer to delivery. There is always a midwife on call, so one of us will be with you during your labor and birth. We all have the same approach to Prenatal Care and Birth, and will support you to help you achieve your ideal birth.

Do the VCU midwives encourage mom to bring a doula to support her in labor?
Yes. We are happy for you to bring your doula to support you during labor. We encourage each woman to decide what support she wants, and for many of our moms, doulas can provide that additional comfort.

Will my insurance pay for midwifery care?
Yes. We bill as the VCU Ob/Gyn practice, which also includes our physicians. We are all one!

What if I have a complication?
In some instances, a complication may arise that is outside of the scope of midwifery care. If this happens, we will refer to a specialist within our practice. We work in collaboration with our VCU Health obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine specialists, who help high-risk women achieve healthy pregnancies and births. If we uncover an issue during your prenatal care, we will have you see one of the physicians in our department. If there is a complication during your labor, a full delivery team, including obstetricians, is on the Labor & Delivery Unit at all times, 24/7.

Can I truly achieve a natural birth in a hospital setting?
We are committed to the normalcy of labor and birth. We are here to guide you and help keep your labor moving in the right direction. In our midwifery practice, 88% of our moms have babies without epidurals or pain medication. We will work hard to support you.

What if I need to be induced for medical reasons?
We are able to induce your labor for medical reasons if you are at least 37 weeks pregnant.

Can I deliver my baby in the water?
We encourage mom to take advantage of our hydrotherapy offerings during labor, which includes tubs and showers. If you are laboring in the tub and are ready to push, we will help you out of the tub so that you may birth your baby “on land.” At this time, we do not offer water birth.

What is the VCU Health Midwife Agreement?
We want to ensure that mom understands and agrees with our Approach to Prenatal Care and Birth. So, all of our moms are required to read and sign the VCU Health Midwife Agreement.