faq, fees & resources


We’re here to answer any questions you might have. Bring a list to each appointment at the baby birth center and we will happily customize your 45 minute appointment to answer your specific questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do you see me prenatally?

We will see you on the same schedule an obstetrician would. We can begin care as soon as you are ready, although most mothers chose to start between 10-12 weeks. After our first visit, we will meet every 4 weeks until 28 weeks, every 2 weeks until 36 weeks, and then every week until your child is born.

How often do you see mothers and babies after the birth?

We believe postpartum care is as important as prenatal care, particularly for first time mothers. So many changes in such a short time means most mothers need lots of support. Your postpartum doula will come to your home 24-36 hours after the birth, and we will see you in the office at 1 week, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and finally at 6-8 weeks. During this time, we are able to make sure both you and your new baby are healthy and thriving.

What about lab work and ultrasounds?

We can order any labs that are necessary. We usually recommend a prenatal panel at your first visit, a glucose test at 28 weeks, and then a CBC and a Group B strep test at 37 weeks. Some mothers need a few more tests, and some choose a few less. We never require an ultrasound without a medical reason, but we are happy to order one for you, if you desire. If our clients only want one ultrasound, we usually recommend it to be done between 18-20 weeks. The baby is fully formed by then, which minimizes any risk, and allows us to get as much information as possible (and even determine the sex of the baby, if you want)

What do midwives use at births?

Your certified midwife always bring her heart, hands and experience—and a big birth bag. We have water proof dopplers to monitor the baby throughout labor, all the equipment to watch your vital signs, sterile tools such as scissors to cut the cord, resuscitation equipment, baby scales, herbal tinctures, homeopathy, medicines…our supplies are virtually limitless.

Do you do water births?

YES! Here at Embrace we love water births, and you are welcome to push your baby out under water. We recommend that all our mothers consider at least laboring in water. The birth center has extra deep, soaking tubs that are spacious enough for you and your partner, and also offer home water birth options.

Do I need a doula?

We recommend doulas to everyone, but especially to first time mothers, VBAC mothers, and mothers who have never had an unmedicated birth. A doula will “mother the mother” and keep you feeling comfortable. Embrace Midwifery Care & Birth Center has a doula internship program that allows every mother to have a one at her birth at no additional cost. And of course, you are always welcome to bring a doula you’ve hired independently of us.

What if I can’t take the pain?

Only a small percentage of our mothers transfer for pain relief, and those are usually due to babies who are in troublesome positions. When mothers are educated, supported and in familiar surroundings, those endorphins do their work and mothers do great.

What if there is an emergency?

Although out-of-hospital natural birth is safe for low risk mothers, sometimes we do have to transfer. Usually these transfers are not urgent, and we just need to go to the hospital for some help and on some occasions pitocin, if contractions have stopped. Very few baby birth center transfers are urgent, and we are happy to say that the birth center has EMS available 24 hours a day, just across the street. Chippenham Hospital is a little over 3 miles away and we have a very detailed transfer plan in place should we need to go to the hospital quickly.

What medicines are available at the birth center?

Your certified nurse midwife will have IV’s for fluid replacement, because some mothers vomit during labor and can become dehydrated. We have antibiotics for Group B Strep positive mothers. We keep antihemorrhagic medicines, in case you bleed more than normal after the birth. All of our medicines are ready at every birth, but only used if needed. For the baby, we offer erythromycin ointment to prevent eye infections and we offer Vitamin K by injection or oral drops.

Isn’t midwifery care expensive?

The average cost of a uncomplicated vaginal birth, in the hospital with a doctor, is almost $12,000 in Richmond VA. After deductibles, co-pays and items not covered by insurance, many families find midwifery care to be less expensive than filing a claim. In comparison, natural birth center and even home birth costs are a small fraction of that and is inexpensive for the amount and quality of care received. Here’s a rough estimate of our average time spent with a client:

  • 12-14 hours of prenatal visits. We often spend more time together during our initial interview than doctors spend during the entire pregnancy!
  • 6-48 hours of labor and birth. Personal, complete care by midwives, doulas, and nurses you know and trust.
  • 4-6 hours of immediate postpartum care. Comfortable, spacious queen beds, newborn exam, postpartum education and lots of smiles and TLC. You just had a baby!
  • 4-6 hours of postpartum visits for you and your new baby, including your first visit in the comfort of your own home.

Each birth is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Most people budget and plan for things they really want, because it’s worth it. Birthing a child the way you want to is as important as the special things a wedding, new home or car, college funds, and vacations.

​See our fees and insurance page for more information.


A Few of Our Wonderful Local Resources

Richmond Doulas – a comprehensive resource for birth and parenting in Richmond

Richmond Mom – “Where Hip Moms Click!” – Local events, pregnancy resources, parenting resources, and more

ICAN Of Richmond – International Cesarean Awareness Network of Richmond, VA

Richmond Mothering/Postpartum Circle – To help mothers connect, share, and cope in the first few years after a baby is born.

La Leche League of Richmond – Mother to mother breastfeeding support

Birth Talk – Monthly support circle for pregnant women and their partners seeking a low intervention birth

Babywearing International of Central Virginia – provide free and low-cost baby wearing education and community support to parents and caregivers in the Richmond Metro region

The Cord Blood Center– Providing information for expectant mothers and families considering cord blood banking

Choosing a Midwife

Midwives And The Care They Provide – American College of Nurse-Midwive

What is a Midwife? – Midwives Alliance of North America

Choosing an Obstetrician or Physician 

Local physicians that do birth are listed here, along with their education, specialties, academic history, and obstetrics statistics.  If you are comparing doctors, look at their cesarean and episiotomy rates.  For comparison, our episiotomy rate is far less than 1% and our cesarean rate for women who transfer is less than 8%.

American Academy of Family Physicians offer wonderful, family-based care and are a great choice for women (and babies!) 

Books We Love

Anything by Ina May Gaskin will make you smile and give you plenty of food for thought.

Every partner should read The Birth Partner and every woman should read Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn

Michael Odent brings us a gentle, European perspective.  Beautiful man, beautiful words.

Robin Lim wrote an excellent book about AFTER the baby is born, and the changes mothers go through.

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth is a no-nonsense, logical approach.

Some Useful & Reliable Websites

PubMed This is hard core medical info!

Cochrane Collaborative… Trusted evidence.  Informed Decisions. Better Health.

American Academy of Family Practitioners  Less interventive approach than ACOG

Dr. Sears Trusted resource for parents through pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, beyond

Kelly Mom  Great, reliable, down-to-earth information for virtually any question

Belly Belly  is an Australian based resource that is wonderful

Evidence Based Birth is a website to help you sort through all the evidence

Dr. Jack Newman is Canada’s leading breastfeeding expert

La Leche League  is the world’s resource for breastfeeding information and support

The Happiest Baby on the Block technique is pure magic for calming fussy babies!

Purple Crying Gas? Colic? Reflux? This is a great resource for understanding why babies are fussy.  Hint: It’s probably not your diet!

Placenta encapsulation is becoming more and more mainstream.

Circumcision A page that looks at the pros and cons of circumcision

Circumcision information More circumcision info, but this page is definitely anti-circumcision unless medically necessary

Dr. Brewer’s pregnancy diet has good studies minimizing your risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia

March of Dimes offers wonderful info, especially regarding pre-term labor and genetic testing

Spinning Babies helps you get your baby in the perfect position for labor and birth.  Start early!

Water birth is good for mamas and babies

Hypnobirthing is magic…I have seen many, many mothers using Hypnobirthing labor and birth with ease.

Bradley Birth is the original husband-coached childbirth class

Lamaze is the original childbirth class

Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, serves low-income pregnant, lactating and postpartum women and children up to age five

Herbs in Pregnancy can be a safe alternative to medicines, but be educated.

Over the Counter Meds in pregnancy.  Know what is safe for those minor illnesses and irritations.

Essential Oils in pregnancy can be safe, but be sure you have accurate information. This is an excellent resource.


Fees & Insurance

We are used to saving and paying for lots of things that are important to us. Engagement rings and weddings. Cars and down payments on houses. Vacations. That dog you’ve been dreaming of. New furniture. We spend our money on things that are important to us, things that enrich our lives, things that are once in a lifetime, things that create beautiful memories. You only will birth the baby you are carrying once. Ask any woman, even one 80 years old, what her birth was like and she will tell you her story. She will tell you the details, and tell you the victory, and yes, tell you the troubles. Your baby being born gently and with love is priceless.


Let’s talk about insurance. There are several things you need to know before you decide where to give birth.

1. Insurance may come with co-pays for visits, deductibles, and coinsurance.
2. If your pregnancy crosses over a period where you change insurance, as in an open enrollment period, or if you pass your plan’s renewal date, you will likely be responsible for 2 deductibles.
3. You can often use your FSA or HSA for your birth!
4. If your baby is well, all charges should go under your deductible. But if your baby needs any kind of extra care, he has a deductible of his own.