I’ve Decided To Do An Out of Hospital Birth…How Do I Pick My Birth Team?

By Dawn Karlin, CPM and Yvonne Silbernagel, CPM

First of all- 

Interview, Interview, Interview.….most Midwives offer free consults and want you to pick the right midwife for you. We know that there are many different practices in the area, and each of us have our special interests and different personalities.  The interview is important for you to pick the right midwife for YOU.  Friends, family and Facebook can be a good place to start to get names, but then it is essential to interview them for yourself.  Of course all of our goals are the same…having the right team for YOU so that you can work toward the birth you want with the right people supporting you.


What should you ask? 
Every Midwife and her practice is not the same, so you need to ask lots of questions.

Questions we suggest you ask and wish you would ask…

Is it an individual midwife or a practice of many? If so, can you choose who will be there?

Does she work with an assistant? Do you get to choose or is it chosen for you? Is she a doula also? How long has she done this work? Do you get to interview her also?

What training has your midwife had? Is she a CPM or CNM or Traditional Midwife?

If they work with an assistant, what training have they had?

Does the assistant ever come before the midwife? If so, when does the midwife come?

Has she taken emergency training?

If she does VBAC….What restrictions does she have? Why? What would risk you out of a HBAC?

What would risk you out of a Homebirth/Birth Center Birth?

What continuing education has she taken? Does she have anything interesting coming up?

What state organizations is she part of? Oklahoma Midwives Alliance? Midwives Society of Oklahoma? Both? None? Why?

How long have you been a midwife?

What is your emergency plan?

What if I need a prescription?

What hospitals does she prefer to go to in case of a transfer?

How many transfers has she had this year? Last year? What was the typical reason?

Does she charge extra for the birth pool? Newborn Screen? Hearing Screen? Metabolic Screen?

What supplements does she suggest? Why?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of  questions you should ask but just a good start.  This is someone that sees you at your most vulnerable…You want your midwife to be the right midwife for you.

What are our (Yvonne and Dawns’) answers to these questions?

  • We both have individual practices.
  • We also both have clients choose their assistant from a list of approved assistants. Each one of our assistants are required to have emergency training and have also been trained and work sometimes as doulas. To choose which one of our approved assistants would be right for you, you can interview them and/or look at their websites.
  • We both do VBAC for low risk candidates.
  • We each have guidelines for risking a client out of HBAC or homebirth or birth center birth with us.
  • Yvonne and Dawn both not only attend continuing education but also collaborate to bring better continuing education opportunities to our community!
  • We believe that our local Midwifery organizations are important for fellowship among other midwives, as well as resources and education opportunities. We each belong to both the Midwive’s Society of Oklahoma (MSO)and the Oklahoma Midwive’s Alliance (OMA).
  • Education, transfer rates, and reasons for transfer are unique to each of us so you would need a consult to discuss these with us individually!
  • Each of our clients have access to a borrowed pool from one of your birth team members. There is not an additional cost for this, however, there are additional supplies necessary like a pool liner and a fish net.
  • Yvonne and Dawn both offer state mandated newborn screenings to their clients. These include the hearing screening, heart screening, and metabolic screening at no additional cost.
  • There are specific supplements we recommend for each pregnant mama and other supplements will be recommended throughout pregnancy depending on each individual woman’s experience and symptoms.


We asked some midwife clients how they chose their birth team:

Word of mouth. I had heard GREAT things about the birth team I chose, and I’m glad I listened.- Veronica K.

Research, prayer and faith.- Cameron W.

My friends had all had you or recommended you- it was an easy decision. For my assistant, I just read a little about each one and went with what I felt would fit my personality/needs best.- Jess H.

I asked my friend, who was pregnant at the time, what a midwife even was! Lol, after that I did my own research and talked to my hubby. I think it really comes down to knowing your strengths and weaknesses, knowing what you truly want and then finding the people who fill those spots. Finding the people who believe in you is the biggest thing for me. -Annie M.

I asked my friends in the area who they birthed with. Then I researched them on internet like a stalker. 😂 I read birth philosophies and their own birth stories. I also checked experience levels and statistics like how many transfers/ C-section percentages. Really, it came down to my in person consult that solidified the decision. There’s just a gut feeling I get if I really click with someone. I wanted a team who I trusted, who really listened to me, and empowered me. Being in a fear free environment was most important to me, so I chose someone who made me feel at ease while at the same time was professional. With my second and third, I knew I was doing hypnobabies, so that played a role also.- Tiffany R.

I wanted accountability partners who would keep me honest and help shape my choices. At the same time, I wanted people who would feel natural enough with me to feel vulnerable with them . Erika C.

I wanted someone experienced and someone I clicked with. I know myself and the type of support I wanted, so I wanted someone that would do/honor that. Braylon B.


Made sure that those around me respected that space when I couldn’t verbalize that for myself. Amy P.


W. Yvonne Silbernagel, CPM, https://www.amotherslovemidwifery.com

Dawn Karlin, CPM, https://blissbirthok.com


Author: The Bliss of a Mother's Love

Midwives in Oklahoma, practicing informed decision making and evidence based practice.

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