Frequently Asked Questions


 What is midwifery care like? How is it different from my OB?

Midwifery care, especially in a setting like ours, is quite different from a visit to the OB. Our appointments last around an hour which means there is plenty of time to ask all of your questions. We take the time to really understand what is going on with you, your baby, your family and your pregnancy. We offer reading suggestions, referrals to classes and other providers. Another cornerstone of our care is informed choice - we offer the same standard of care when it comes to labs, ultrasounds, and procedures that you would get anywhere else, but at River City, we are committed to making sure you understand all of your choices and have all the information you need to make a decision. Most importantly, we fully support and respect those decisions, knowing that you are the best and final expert on your body and your baby.

We are constantly working to stay on top of science and research while maintaining perspective and remaining humble. While we are guides in your journey, you are in charge.


What is a birth center like? How is it different from a hospital?

A freestanding birth center is usually small and run by midwives. Birth centers are home-like environments where, in labor, low-risk women can move freely, eat and drink, and labor in the water. Usually, as at River City Midwifery, you can also give birth in the water. We love water birth!  At a birth center or home birth, you can have the support team you want, including family members, a doula, and even your children. You can listen to music, walk around outside and do whatever makes you feel more comfortable and safe.  

People giving birth outside of the hospital are usually low-risk, and emergencies are very rare. At River City Midwifery, we value our relationships with area hospitals, CNMs and OBGYNs and work to ensure a safe and timely transfer to the hospital should a need arise, long before it becomes an emergency.

Do you take insurance?

Yes! Read more about our our fees, insurance and financial policies here.


How do you monitor the health of baby and mom during pregnancy?

The foundation of prenatal care is the care you take of your body during this time. We support you to make the healthiest and best choices possible to help keep your pregnancy low-risk. Additionally, we recommend standard lab tests, a mid-pregnancy ultrasound and monitor the baby's heartbeat and growth throughout the pregnancy. We monitor your blood-pressure and other vital signs. Because our prenatal care is based on relationship building and listening, together we “catch” issues early, ideally before they become major problems.

We recognize that pregnancy and birth are unpredictable and stay vigilant to any developing problems or concerns. If additional tests or consultations are needed, we have quick and seamless relationships with other providers, imaging centers and labs.


How do you make sure we are safe and healthy during labor and birth?

During labor the midwives will monitor the baby's heartbeat frequently and unobtrusively. We work to keep you hydrated, fed, and rested while also checking vital signs periodically. We have two midwives at every birth to guarantee an experienced set of hands for both mom and baby. We follow our carefully researched and frequently re-evaluated protocols to make sure you stay low-risk and safe for out of hospital birth.

Should a transfer of care become necessary - and it sometimes does - our clients benefit from easy, quick and seamless transfers to the hospital setting.


How will I cope with labor?

You will do a great job! One of the best things about having a midwife for your first unmedicated birth is that we have helped hundreds of people do this! We have watched all kinds of folks, even those who SWORE there was NO WAY they could do it, do just that, and triumph. We have faith in you, and skills to help. If there is one thing we know, it is that you can definitely cope with the discomfort of normal labor. We do encourage childbirth education classes for most first time parents so that you are more prepared and confident. But seriously, you can do it!


What do you do if there is any emergency in labor?

We are trained to handle emergencies and have strict safety measures in place.  We maintain and practice Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP) and CPR. While it is our goal to always anticipate a problem before it becomes an emergency, if emergency medical care is needed we are within one block of EMS and both VCU Medical Center and Henrico Doctor's Hospital are 5 miles away.


Can I switch to River City Midwifery if I am already seeing another provider?

Absolutely! Please contact us to discuss details.


When should I start prenatal care?

You can start anytime! You can always start care later in pregnancy, but we love to see people at least once in the first trimester if possible. The foundation of this model of care is relationship building and trust, and that takes time. The more time we have to get to know you, your family and your perspective, the safer and more satisfying your birth will be.


Can I eat and drink in labor?

Yes! We encourage it. Our birth suites have a full kitchen and we are centrally located near all your favorite RVA restaurants so you can eat whatever you want, truly, during and after birth.


Who can come to my birth?

You can have whoever you want at your birth. Some people like to give birth in complete privacy, others want close family and still others want a labor party with mom, sisters, a doula, a photographer and all the kids. Whatever you want is fine - we adapt you you!


Can we do delayed cord clamping?

With rare exception, we do not clamp or cut the cord until you are ready. Read more about delayed cord clamping here and learn why we do not interfere with this important physiologic process.


Can I have a doula?

Yes! We love doulas. In fact, we offer a discount for people who hire community doulas. Contact us for more information.


Are there any books you recommend?

Yes, check out our recommended reading list


Are there any local classes you recommend?

Yes indeed. Check out our community resources page.