Listed below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers from the Midwife/Family Nurse Practitioner.  If you have a question not listed or not answered below, please contact us!

General Pregnancy & Childbirth

Does Blessed Care accept patients without insurance?

Yes, we accept self-pay clients.

What kind of services does Blessed Care provide?

Clients with minor illnesses, those in need of annual exams, sports/DOT physicals, and women seeking OB/GYN care are welcome to call for an appointment.  Because Blessed Care is a small, freestanding clinic, we do not treat sick children, provide pain medications, nor treat major illnesses or injuries.

Do you take credit cards or personal checks?

Blessed Care accept personal checks (with proper ID), money orders, and cash.  We no longer accept credit cards.

Do I have to see a doctor for lab work or tests?

No, we can collect your routine bloodwork at the clinic.  A Doctor's visit is not necessary.

What lab work do you routinely order?

We can do some urine testing on site; we send culture and sensitivity urine tests (for infections) to the lab.  We draw blood for OB (and other) clients and order CBC (a count of different types of cells/ and anemia check), type, antibody titers (for immunity to rubella, etc.) and send it to the lab.  We also do pap tests and send them to the lab.

What vitamins or supplements should I take?

Recent research indicates that vitamins and supplements may not be effective, and may even cause harm if they are not whole food supplements.  We advise our clients to use Juice Plus - a whole food capsule.  More information is available at www.juiceplus.com/+la43137.

How soon should I begin my care?

Ideally, you should prepare your body for pregnancy a few months before conception.  Essential nutrients should be in place to assist in the formation of body systems, which are formed in the first 8 weeks of the baby's growth.  We delight in meeting with women before they conceive to discuss how to create the very best environment to grow a healthy baby.  If you are already pregnant, visit a health care professional as soon as possible.

What kind of activities are safe during pregnancy?

It is generally acceptable to continue with prepregnancy activities.  During exercise sessions, the heart rate should not go above 140.  A more rapid rate could cause a reduction in the amount of oxygen available to baby, and interrupt growth / development.  Any activity that could cause "blunt trauma" to the abdomen - the equivalent of a "belly flop"- should be avoided.  Remember that all joints are loosened more and more as pregnancy progresses, so low back, knees and ankles are more easily injured.  Walking (in sensible shoes) is good, as is yoga and gentle stretching.

Should I change my diet during pregnancy?

Diet should be adjusted 3 or more months before pregnancy, and supplementation should begin at the same time.  Fresh, whole foods should be the main part of the diet, including about 2 quarts of purified water a day.

How much weight should I gain?

Current information indicates that starting at "normal weight" - according to the insurance charts - the best outcomes are seen with a 30-35 lb. weight gain.  The minimum gain should be about 15 lbs. for those who are overweight at the beginning of pregnancy.

What is a 'Low-Risk' pregnancy?

"Low risk" means the mom has not had any illnesses or condition that might require medical assistance or intervention.  This includes, but is not limited to, heart problems, hemorhages, serious blood diseases, history of blood clots, high blood pressure, etc.

Isn't it risky to have a child outside of the hospital?

No, recent studies have shown that a midwife-assisted (home or clinic) birth is just as safe as a hospital birth for healthy women with low-risk pregnancies.  And the risk of C-sections is much lower with midwife-assisted births!

Where can I go for childbirth classes?

We can refer you to childbirth classes.

Can we take pictures or videotape the birth?

Yes, having a baby is a joyous event that many people want to record.  Please take lots of pictures and share some with us!!  You can email the pictures to friends and family from the clinic!!

Can I eat or drink during labor?

Yes. Not only can you eat and drink, but you must.  The longer the labor, the more essential it is to have food and fluids to keep muscles working properly.

What can I do while I'm in labor?

You can eat, drink, walk, relax in a bath, listen to music, read, pray, visit with family, and most anything you want to make your labor and delivery as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

What lab work do you routinely order for pregnancy/childbirth?

A "pregnancy panel" which includes a CBC (blood count), blood and Rh type, and platelet count.  MSAFP (a screening test for fetal well-being) is optional between 15-19 weeks.  At 26-28 weeks, we do a screening test for gestational diabetes, and we can do a test for beta strep if mom desires or there are indications that the test is needed.

Do you routinely order ultrasounds?

No, but we can get ultrasounds done for those who want them, or if we feel one is needed.

Is Doula support available?

Yes, but generally Doulas are not needed for an out of hospital birth with a midwife.  We stay close and coach our clients.

What will I need to do to get ready for my birth?

Read, ask questions, learn to relax, stay healthy, well hydrated and well nourished.

Do I need to purchase a Birth Kit or medical supplies?

We can furnish you with a list of supplies, get a kit for you (about $40), or you can order a kit yourself from our supplier - or anyone else you choose.

I want to labor in water and possibly have a waterbirth, Can I?

Yes, we have a wonderful indoor spa available for waterbirths (for an additional $200 fee).

Who can be at my birth?

Anyone you choose!!  We do advise you to invite those who are supportive, relaxed, and patient.  Some clients have found they were not comfortable with visitors in the birthing suite, but wanted them to be immediately available to see the baby when it arrived.  We have a comfortable waiting area, kitchen, TV, etc., for family and visitors.

Do you allow children to attend births?

Yes, Blessed Care understands that pregnancy and childbirth are family oriented events. We  have a playroom equipped with toys, television, and kids movies. We also have several great books that can help children understand the wonders of pregnancy and childbirth. Children should have a trusted, responsible adult present to guide, reassure, and supervise them.

What position can I be in for the delivery?

Most any position you choose.  Squatting, hands and knees, side-lying - any combination of these.

How do you help women in labor manage their pain?

We massage, encourage, use herbs, immerse mom in warm water - which has been found to provide more pain relief than Demerol.  We encourage walking, rocking on hands and knees, and use warm herb wraps.  Most importantly, we stay with mom and remind her that she can do this, and that it's worth the effort!!

What happens after the birth?

Baby is placed on mom's tummy, in her arms.  Breast feeding is encouraged and assisted.  The cord is not clamped until it stops pulsing - and then dad, sibling, or other chosen attendee can cut the cord.  We allow time for the family to bond, and offer food and fluids.  We usually advise sleeping for a few hours - and even spending the night if the birth occurs late in the day or at night.  We monitor mom's bleeding, blood pressure, etc., and do a complete physical exam for baby on the bed right next to mom.  We do not give any vaccines, vitamin K, or other injections routinely.

What kind of newborn care do you provide?

We do a complete physical at birth, and watch closely for a few hours.  We also offer well-baby check-ups for those who prefer supportive care rather than mandatory vaccines.  For those who choose to vaccinate, we can do well-baby visits, and baby can be vaccinated at the health department or in an M.D. office.   We can also arrange circumcision for those who desire this option.

What happens if there are complications?

We have emergency drugs, oxygen, and knowledge of how to avoid problems.  We also know when to get extra help.  We have arrangements with doctors at Lincoln Regional Hospital - about 15 minutes away in an emergency situation.

What if a transport to the hospital becomes necessary?

We will make all necessary arrangements for a safe and streamlined transport to an appropriate facility.

What percentage of Blessed Care clients have cesarean sections?

So far, less than 10%.

How much does it cost to have a baby?

Speak to the midwife about your specific circumstances.  Our regular fee is $3000.  We charge an extra $200 if you choose to use the birthing spa.

Does insurance cover midwifery care?

Yes, depending on your individual policy.  We are certified providers for TennCare and TriCare.

Can I pay as I go, or is a large sum of money required up front?

Speak to the midwife about your specific circumstances.  We try to assist everyone to make options available and out of hospital birth possible.

When can I come for my birth?

Whenever you think labor has started, or membranes have started leaking, call the midwife and come to the clinic.