“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.”  - Laura Stavoe Harm

Traditional Midwifery & Homebirth Services


SERVICE AREA

I am currently serving families living within a 1-hour driving radius of Coventry, Rhode Island. Families living farther than 1-hour’s drive from Coventry may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. 


CHILDBIRTH PHILOSOPHY

I believe that pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, breastfeeding & chestfeeding are all normal biological processes and are inherently safe for healthy individuals.

respect

I respect and trust the physiological process of birth, and I believe that any unnecessary interference or intervention is a potentially harmful interruption of the body’s natural function.

choice

I believe in a pregnant person’s right to choose where and with whom they give birth, whether that be at home, a birth center, in the hospital, with a midwife or an obstetrician, or unattended by any particular birth professional.

consciousness

I believe that infants are thinking, feeling, miniature humans who play an active part in the birth process and are directly affected by their own births into the world.

autonomy

I believe that a gentle, unhindered birth and a peaceful, loving postpartum are basic rights of every mother/parent and child.

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comprehensive prenatal care

As a traditional homebirth midwife, I care for healthy, low-risk women and people who are well-researched in the benefits and risks of homebirth and are excited to take an active part in their prenatal care, birth, and postpartum period. I provide education regarding the importance of eating an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, drinking clean water, exercising daily, minimizing stress, and getting enough rest, and my clients understand that this type of active lifestyle directly correlates with a healthy, comfortable pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

Our initial prenatal examination can be scheduled anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Thereafter, visits are usually scheduled every four weeks until 28 weeks of pregnancy, then every two weeks until 36 weeks of pregnancy, and then once weekly until baby is born.

All desired laboratory samples (blood draws, urine cultures, etc.) are taken in the comfort of your home and then processed at the local laboratory I am contracted with (or whichever lab is covered by your insurance, if applicable). I do not perform ultrasounds, but will provide a referral to the closest ultrasound clinic at yourrequest.

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LABOR, BIRTH, & IMMEDIATE POSTPARTUM

At 37 weeks of pregnancy, your baby is generally considered to be “full-term” (though it is not uncommon for your pregnancy to continue up to another month). At this point in your pregnancy, I am “on-call” 24-7 in preparation for your labor and birth. When you feel that you are in labor, or if your water breaks, we will decide on a plan of care together. When you feel that you are ready, I will arrive at your house with my supplies and my assistant, whom you will typically meet at your 36 week prenatal visit. I will then be with you throughout your labor and birth, providing support and monitoring your health and well-being and that of your unborn baby.

After birth, your baby is placed immediately on your skin and will remain there throughout the immediate postpartum period unless/until you decide otherwise. I will be with you for at least 2-4 hours postpartum until I am assured that both you and your baby are stable and breastfeeding/chestfeeding well. At around the 1 and 1/2 to 2 hour mark (or later to allow ample time for bonding), I will conduct a full newborn physical examination to document the health and well-being of your child; this exam can be completed with your baby either on your chest, in your arms, and/or lying by your side still touching you. At the end of the examination, I can administer an injection of Vitamin K and/or erythromycin eye ointment, if you choose. It is recommended that your new baby see a pediatrician within 48 hours of life. I will provide a copy of your baby’s newborn examination sheet for you to give to your pediatrician.

If there is a need to transfer to the hospital at any time during labor, birth, or the postpartum period, I will do everything I can to assist in a smooth transfer process, including calling ahead, providing a copy of your records to hospital staff, and staying by your side throughout the birth process.

I am also experienced in and/or offer the following services:

• Waterbirth and labor in water
• Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)
• Comfort measures and positional changes to ease the intensity of birth
• Mother-led/birthing-person-led pushing
• Pushing and birth in any position the mother or birthing person desires
• Encouraging mother, birthing person, or father/partner to catch their own baby
• Spontaneous, active placental birth
• Delayed cord clamping and lotus birth
• Breast/chest crawl/baby-led breastfeeding/chestfeeding

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POSTPARTUM & BREASTFEEDING

In the postpartum period, I will call you at 24 hours after your baby’s birth, and visit you at your home at 48 hours, one week, three weeks, and six weeks, and during these six weeks, I remain on-call for you 24-7 should any issues arise.

At your 48 hour visit, your baby’s birth certificate form will need to be signed, and I will be available to perform your baby’s Critical Congenital Heart Defect (CCHD) screening, as well as the newborn metabolic screening (also called “the heel poke test” or “PKU”). This is also a great time to stamp your baby’s footprints on a keepsake certificate, if you choose. I use pre-inked footprint cards that allow for transfer of footprints without your baby’s skin ever actually touching the ink.

At your final six week visit, I offer a full physical examination including a re-test of your hemoglobin and hematocrit (to "check your iron”) and pap smear.

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FINANCIAL INFORMATION

I offer an all-inclusive “global” fee for my midwifery services. My financial contract is up front with no hidden charges. I offer flexible payment plans with payment in full due by 36 weeks of your pregnancy, and I accept cash, personal checks, money orders, and most major credit cards. I also offer a 5% discount if the total fee is paid in full by your second visit.

Additionally, I offer a reduced sliding scale fee for families who meet the Poverty Guidelines for their family size (contact me for more information).

I do not accept insurance as a form of payment, however, I do assist with billing and client reimbursement. If you have maternity insurance coverage, I encourage you to verify your benefits as soon as you find out that you are pregnant; this allows plenty of time to request any authorizations or Gap Exceptions as applicable. You will be responsible for paying the full fee for my midwifery services by 36 weeks of pregnancy, and then after your birth and postpartum care, I will bill your insurance company and reimburse you any recovered fees as soon as I receive them. I can verify your benefits and request a Gap Exception for you, as well.

I do not accept Medicaid. If you choose me as your midwife and are eligible for Medicaid, I do recommend that you still apply for Medicaid so that any bloodwork and labs, ultrasounds, and/or appointments with any other providers (chiropractors, pediatricians, obstetricians, etc.) may be covered.

Additional expenses not included in the comprehensive package fee are billed separately and include your birth kit (including birth tub and waterbirth supplies, if desired), lab and ultrasound fees, Rhogam injection for Rh negative clients, and any fees incurred by consulting physicians or hospitals in the event of a transfer.


Questions?

Please don't hesitate to contact me today at 904-547-0760 or send me an email at midwifemelissamarks@gmail.com.