What kind of birth do you want?
An un-medicated birth? A birth with an epidural? A waterbirth? A birth at home? Even if you're not sure yet, you will get much more clarity when you start interviewing local practices. Ask around, your friends and family will likely have advice on certain providers and locations. Check out potential midwives' websites to read up on their overall philosophy, services offered, and certifications held.
How do I find a midwife?
The New Hampshire Midwives Association has a really excellent resource for new parents, an interactive map of NH certified midwives. It can be trickier to find a midwife in states like Maine and Massachusetts that do not have a law regulating midwives, but look around, they're there!
Interview 2-4 midwives that resonate with you.
Most practices schedule free consults. These are a great way to meet providers and see what your gut tells you about them. Go to the consult with some questions ready, the midwife won't be offended and it will help you organize your thoughts ahead of time in terms of your preferences. Here are 50 questions to get you started, plus 44 more to pick and choose from.
There's a midwife for every woman.
You will receive counsel from those you trust and those you don't over the course of your pregnancy, and choosing where to give birth and with who can prove to be quite controversial. You are the only ones who can make these decisions for your family and for your baby. I've worked with parents who loved homebirth and yet decided that for this baby they needed to birth in a hospital. I've also taken over the care of women at 36 weeks because they decided that they wanted to be home. There is no wrong answer. I often say to parents that you begin parenting long before you conceive. In how you live your life, in who you bring into your space, in what you put in your body, you are parenting. Making decisions prenatally is no different. Leave yourself the space to answer these questions. Your answers might surprise you.
I love this statement from Heather over on the Mommypotamous Blog:
"If at any point your original birth plan or choice of care provider feels like it is no longer the right choice for you, give yourself permission to alter the plan. Women who were 100% gung-ho about hospital birth have switched to a midwife at 40 weeks and vice-versa. Do what you feel is in the best interest of your baby."