Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a midwife and a doula?

Midwives serve as primary care providers for clients who fall within their low risk scope of practice.  A doula provides emotional support and assists with comfort measures during birth, but does not provide medical care for clients or newborns. Training to become a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) takes many years of study and apprenticeship, along with a national certification process. CPM’s  are skilled professionals in out-of-hospital settings. They provide individualized care to women and their newborns throughout the childbearing year. Both midwives and doula’s care for clients during labor and birth, but they have very different roles.

What if a complication arises during labor?

Although home birth is statistically safe, it does not guarantee a complication free birth. Home birth is not our goal, rather clients giving birth in a safe and empowered manner be it at home, our birth center, or in the hospital setting. If a complication arises during labor we use our skills and training to manage the complication and in some cases transport to the hospital for care beyond our scope of practice. As CPM’s we are trained in neonatal resuscitation and CPR, we carry IV fluids, anti-hemorrhagic drugs, and we don’t hesitate to transfer care if it’s necessary for safety.

The vast majority of women who plan to give birth at home will not need to transfer care. And the majority of the women who do need a transfer for medical care will not need an ambulance or emergency services. In cases of transport to the hospital during labor, your midwives will remain with you serving in a supportive role.

Can you explain student involvement in my care?

As apart of our commitment to training the next generation of midwives, students are an integral part of your care at The Birth House. Our Intern is an advanced student who has completed the didactic portion of the Birthwise Midwifery School program. The Intern comes to this practice as an advanced student who has received training and experiencing assisting in midwifery practice and is ready to serve as the primary midwife under the supervision of The Birth House staff midwives. The Intern works collaboratively with each staff midwife and client to provide best care for client and baby. A newer student is also apart of the Birth Team of each client in our practice. This is a student who is currently studying at Birthwise Midwifery School and has been placed with The Birth House as apart of their clinical training experience. Involvement in care reflects the students experience and skill level. Together our practice functions as a three person team, Staff midwife, Intern, and clinical student.

 Do you accept insurance?

The Birth House encourages all of our clients to contact their insurance companies directly for reimbursement. Some clients have received reimbursement, however traditionally large insurance companies have not covered care for out of hospital birth in Maine. We accept payment in full directly from clients, and can work with you to help you submit claims to your insurance company.

Is water birth an option in your practice?

Hydrotherapy is a great tool for easing labor pain. Some clients choose to labor in the birth tub and other clients both labor and give birth in the tub.

The terms waterbirth and water immersion are sometimes used interchangeably. To be specific water immersion refers to women who use a birth pool or tub of warm water during the first stage of labor, but not during the actual birth. Waterbirth is the act of giving birth while in the tub/pool. The baby is born into the water and then brought to the surface after birth. Some women remain in the tub during the birth of the placenta, while others will get out for this stage of labor. Waterbirth is also commonly referred to as hydrotherapy, warm water immersion, and deep water immersion.

Results from research indicates that women who experience uncomplicated pregnancies and labors with limited risk factors and evidence-based management have comparable maternal and neonatal outcomes whether or not they give birth in water.  

Resources for more information about waterbirth



  • Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper
  • Choosing Waterbirth by Lakshmi Bertram
  • Water Labour, Water Birth by Annie Sprague


  • Birth Into Being
  • Born in Water
  • Birth Day
  • Water Babies- The Aquanatal Experience in Ostend