Frequently Asked Questions



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, 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.  

Women 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.


How is midwifery care different?

The Midwives Model of Care includes:

  • Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
  • Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • Minimizing technological interventions
  • Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention.

At River City Midwifery this means that prenatal appointments are 30 minutes to an hour long, and we schedule clients in 1 hour blocks to minimize or eliminate waiting. Our office is kid and baby friendly, with toys and books, snacks and babyproofing. During the prenatal, we take the time to really understand what is going on with you, your baby and your pregnancy. We offer or refer our clients to classes, books, community groups and to more extensive medical care if needed.

We are constantly working to stay on top of science and research while staying grounded in connection and community.


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, like other providers, we recommend some 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.


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

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.


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 women 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, its that you can definitely cope with the discomfort of 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.


Can I eat and drink in labor?

Yes! We encourage it.


Who can come to my birth?

You can have whoever you want at your birth. Seriously.


Can we do delayed cord clamping?

With rare exception, we do not clamp or cut the cord until you are ready.


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.