So, you're planning a natural birth. Can you picture this scenario?
Your prenatal care is personal and attentive. Each prenatal appointment lasts at least an hour with ample time for questions and careful monitoring of your baby's growth and your health. Some of these visits take place in an office, but many take place in your own home on your own schedule and you can choose whether you wish to keep the visits private, or invite friends and family to support you and learn with you.
Your midwife is available 24/7 by phone or email to answer any questions you may have in between your appointments. A ready referral list of acupuncturists, homeopaths, pediatricians, obstetricians and other care providers is available to ensure that you and your baby remain in excellent health throughout your pregnancy.
As your due date gets closer, you begin to prepare for the birth itself - ordering supplies, finishing up classes and gathering your friends and family around you. You prepare your birthplace - gathering music, pictures, and candles - whatever it is you need to create a calm, gentle environment to welcome your baby.
During your labor, your midwife - who you know and trust - is by your side, coaching, encouraging and quietly monitoring your baby's heartbeat and your own well-being to reassure you that you and your baby are strong and doing well. You are free to move around as you wish and to labor in whatever way feels most natural and intuitive to you. Perhaps you choose to labor and birth in warm water... perhaps in the arms of your partner.
Until finally - your baby is in your arms. She turns her head at the sound of familiar voices, perhaps reaches up to touch your face and settles peacefully against your body.
All of this is possible when you plan to give birth at home with a midwife.