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When should I schedule my first visit?
Your pregnancy care at Oula starts with a Virtual Intake visit, which can happen any time in your pregnancy, ideally around 7-8 weeks. Our new patient slots tend to fill up quickly, and we do cap the monthly number of deliveries we take on for each due date!
Please complete your intake questions in the portal so we can ensure your pregnancy is a fit for care at Oula. Look out for messages or phone calls from Oula.
Your next step, should be to attend an upcoming virtual Open House to get your questions answered about Oula ahead of your appointment. If you can’t make it, you can watch the FAQ videos on our homepage.
During your virtual visit, we’ll discuss the best time for your first in-person visit, typically when you are after 10 weeks, when ultrasounds and genetic screening bloodwork are both possible. If you’re anxious to get an early ultrasound, please let us know in your virtual visit.
Transferring to us in your 2nd or 3rd trimester? Please make sure to send your records to us well ahead of your appointment. It is subject to cancelation until you do.
What is the difference between Oula and a regular OBs office?
At Oula, we combine the best of obstetrics and midwifery care. We view pregnancy and birth as natural physiological processes, and only use medical interventions such as c-sections when absolutely necessary. This means you’ll have OBs and Midwives as part of your care team, who are focused on leading with evidence, equipping you with the right information, and trusting you to know your body best. We’re also built with your convenience in mind, providing options for virtual visits, remote monitoring, and high-touch communication. Through the Oula portal, you can book your appointments, track your progress, and make informed decisions about your preferences.
Check out our video on what makes Oula different.
What are the credentials of Oula’s clinical team?
Oula uses a collaborative care model, which means that we leverage both obstetricians and midwives. Our obstetricians follow a traditional M.D. or D.O. training pathway, with four years of medical school and four years of residency. Our midwives follow a certified nurse midwife (CNM) or certified midwife (CM) training pathway. They complete a graduate program in midwifery, which includes 500-1,000 hours of clinical practice. OBGYNs, CNMs, and CMs are required to pass national certification exams.
Are all pregnancies a fit for Oula?
Oula is based on a “collaborative care model,” which means midwives will be leading much of the care with OBGYNs overseeing parts and performing any necessary surgeries.
That said, some medical histories or pregnancies would benefit from more specialized care than we offer at Oula. It’s very important to complete your intake questions as soon as you book your appointment, especially if you’ve had prior complicated pregnancies or are actively managing any ongoing chronic conditions. Note that we are happy to accept VBAC pregnancies as well as patients of any age at Oula.
If you’ve already started your prenatal care with another provider, we’d be happy to welcome you as a transfer patient. We will need to review your medical records prior to your visit and ask that you send them to us as soon as you book your appointment.
Do you offer home birth services?
Today, all Oula babies are born at the hospital. We do not offer home birth services.
What makes Oula’s clinical space special?
We’re incredibly proud of the clinic space we’ve created. It was designed to be warm, welcoming, and tailor-made for the pregnancy experience. Our clinic includes a library of our favorite pregnancy books for you to peruse while you’re waiting, exercise balls for comfortable pelvic alignment while sitting, a hydration station with water and herbal teas, a toy box for any infants tagging along, and even aromatherapy scents that are selected to minimize nausea. We used curved, natural materials, and soft lighting, to create a clinical space we actually want to spend time in.
If I already have an OBGYN, can I still use Oula?
If you’d like to transition your care to Oula during your pregnancy, we are happy to work with your existing providers to get access to your existing medical records. If you’d like to complete your pregnancy outside of Oula, you’re still welcome to use any of our virtual coaching visits, as well as use our app to help guide the key decisions in your journey.
Which insurance does Oula accept?
We are in-network with many of the plans from the below commercial and Medicaid carriers. Note that each insurance company has dozens of plans, so we’ll need to verify the eligibility of your exact plan.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Emblem HIP and Emblem GHI
- United Healthcare (Non-medicaid)
- Blue Cross Blue Shield HealthPlus
For labor & delivery, we recommend verifying with your health plan that Mount Sinai West (NPI# 1104982917) is an in-network hospital. Many health plans have it listed in their system by an old name (Mount Sinai St Lukes and Roosevelt).
Note: If your insurance company is not listed above, feel free to reach out to us directly to check the status as we are currently contracting with additional health plans in New York. You can reach us at 718-400-8339 or firstname.lastname@example.org
How does pregnancy insurance coverage work?
Pregnancy care is covered by most insurance plans. However, out-of-pocket costs (or the portion that is not covered by insurance) varies depending on your plan and benefit package. Generally coverage and out of pocket costs fall into these categories:
- Prenatal & postpartum visits (billed by Oula)
- Routine testing, genetic screening, outside ultrasounds (billed by the lab or imaging center)
- Delivery (billed partially by Oula and partially by the hospital)
- Other common ancillary services (billed by that service provider)
How much will I pay out-of-pocket?
Like most things in healthcare, the answer is unfortunately “it depends”, based on your individual insurance plan. Below we have a set of questions to ask your insurance plan to clarify your benefits for prenatal care. We are happy to talk you through these questions and the answers you get back from your health plan:
- What are my annual in-network deductibles?
- How much of my in-network deductible have I met so far this year?
- Is the deductible based on a calendar year? If not, when does it start and end?
- Does my deductible count towards my out-of-pocket max?
- What is my co-insurance rate for in-network coverage?
- What is my individual out of pocket maximum for in-network coverage?
- Does my plan cover midwives?
- I plan to deliver at Mount Sinai West, can you confirm that this facility is in-network? The NPI for the facility is 1104982917
When do you bill my insurance?
While it can vary by health plan, typically we bill your insurance company:
- For the first visit
- For the “global” bill after your delivery which covers all the prenatal visits, except the first visit, the labor & delivery, and a postpartum visit
- For any visits, tests, ultrasounds, procedures that occur during prenatal care that aren’t considered part of the “global” bill.
Are extra services like nutrition covered by insurance?
For appointments outside of traditional clinical care such as nutrition, lactation consulting, the cost of these will depend on your specific insurance plan. You also can pay out-of-pocket, with sliding scale options for those in need.
Can you help me understand my insurance coverage?
Yes! Email us at email@example.com and we are happy to help.
What does it mean to have a hospital birth at Oula?
Oula is a collaborative midwifery-led practice that offers hospital-based births. So, when it is time for you to have your baby, you’ll head to the hospital and your primary provider will be an Oula midwife.
A hospital environment allows both “high risk” and “low risk” births to take place there. If your birth requires medical interventions (such as a cesarean birth) to keep you or your baby safe, your Oula midwives will be with you at the hospital throughout to help you understand what is happening. We have access to world-class medical care and can collaborate with obstetricians, pediatricians, or neonatologists who can respond and participate in your care with a moment’s notice.
Read more here.
How does a hospital environment differ from a home birth or birth center?
While we can work to make your hospital birth home-like, the hospital has its own systems and protocols that are designed to keep everyone safe. We believe our patients and their babies benefit from the safety net of your Oula midwives and doctors who work in strong collaboration with the nurses and physicians at the hospital.
With every Oula birth, the midwifery team will be taking care of you throughout your labor and birth, and will continue to check on you during your postpartum stay.
How did you choose Mt Sinai West hospital for deliveries?
There are lots of reasons we chose to deliver at Mt Sinai West. One of the most popular birth centers in NYC history used to be based within Mt Sinai West. Although it is now closed, the hospital is committed to policies, procedures, and even a culture, that allow low-risk patients to be cared for in a similar way. For example, allowing intermittent monitoring, offering hydrotherapy (tubs!), nitrous oxide, and other alternatives for pain management, etc.
Additionally, we think it’s important that all the other providers you may engage with while in the hospital (OBs who help with emergencies, Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists who care for high-risk patients, etc), are aligned with the benefits of midwifery care and enthusiastic about collaborating. Mt Sinai West has a long history of doing that. And an added bonus: the majority of our current and upcoming clinical team members have already worked at Mt Sinai West and are very familiar with how to navigate it.
To learn more about our approach to birth and labor, watch this video.
Do I need to live near the hospital?
It’s very common for people to wonder about the optimal distance between their home and the hospital! We can tell you that patients come to Mt Sinai West from all 5 boroughs (and even New Jersey and Westchester!) to have their babies.
When your contractions begin, you’ll give us a call, and we’ll decide together when it’s time to leave for the hospital. Most of the time we’ll encourage you to stay home for a while longer, and we’ll be in constant contact about how you’re feeling and the timing of your contractions. We’ll also take into account where you are coming from, and how you will be getting to the hospital, to ensure you aren’t cutting it close.
We should also note that, especially for first time moms, labor often lasts many hours! Despite what the movies may have us think, labor very rarely involves a “rush to the hospital.” As long as you call us right at the beginning, we’ll be able to coach you through the right timing.
What types of pain management do you offer? Can I get an epidural?
Yes! Birth can be painful, but we can help you build a toolkit to avoid suffering, and reduce or relieve your pain. We’re judgement-free about whether you’d prefer to be medicated or unmedicated, and you’re also welcome to change your mind! In the hospital, you will have the option of 3 types of medicated pain relief: Epidural, Nitrous Oxide, and IV narcotics such as Morphine or Stadol. It’s important to chat through the pros and cons of these options with your care team. If you’d prefer an unmedicated birth, your midwife and doula (if you have one) can guide you through breathwork, acupressure and massage, and you may even have a birthing ball and warm tub available as well. Even if you plan to have an epidural in labor, you will likely experience some pain, so it is important to plan non-medicated support and comfort measures as well.
What is a midwife?
Midwives are licensed health care professionals that are trained to provide expert nonsurgical care to women from puberty to menopause. This includes pregnancy, from prenatal care to delivery and neonatal care. While a midwife’s experience and area of expertise is in low-risk pregnancies, they are trained to identify complications and work with obstetricians in emergency situations. For most birthing parents, their pregnancy is low-risk and can be led by a midwife.
Check out our blog post: What actually is a midwife?
How does maternity care work at Oula?
It is standard to have monthly visits starting around week 10, that move to bi-weekly, and then finally weekly leading up to your due date. We also offer some of these as virtual visits, as well as a few group virtual educational visits.
Watch our quick video on collaborative care at Oula.
If I have a midwife, do I still need a doula?
We love doulas at Oula, and our name is actually a nod toward their wonderful care and proven results. A doula is a non-medical member of the birth team that provides continuous emotional and physical support, from when your labor begins at-home until you’re back at home with your baby. While OBs and midwives make medical decisions and deliver your baby, doulas serve as a coach, advocate, and resource. This continuous support is an evidence-based method of reducing c-section and other intervention rates throughout the course of labor. Many doulas have particular expertise in pain coping techniques, including comforting touch and massage, breathing and meditation, and acupressure. You can find doulas in a wide range of budgets, some with sliding scale fees, and we’re happy to help match you. Read more about doulas on our blog.
How does Oula coordinate my care?
Pregnancy and birth are more than just medical experiences – they also involve your mental health, nutrition, pelvic floor health, and desires to breastfeed. At Oula, we’ll help you navigate amongst the various supportive providers and help you decide what’s best for you, as well as help match you with providers in our network. For some services, like nutrition and lactation counseling, we have Oula providers who can directly coordinate with your midwife and doctor.
Can I bring a support person into my appointments?
Yes! Your support person is important to you and us. We also welcome your support person into some of our group class offerings.