As a private midwife in East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey, a question I get asked frequently is “what does a private midwife do”? Often people assume that I only provide midwifery care for people having a straightforward pregnancy and who are totally set on having an intervention and drug free “natural” birth.
Whilst I love facilitating homebirths, I offer a very wide range of services in many different situations.
Midwives working outside the NHS have to hold the same basic qualification as our NHS colleagues. I have a degree in Midwifery (first class) and a degree in nursing. We have to hold registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which requires us to undertake regular professional refresher and development courses. We also have to have professional insurance, a complex issue that I have written about previously
Many private midwives, like myself, worked in the NHS for many years before moving into independent midwifery practice. Many of us have areas of special interest, knowledge and skill. This means that the answer to “what does a private midwife do?” varies according to the individual midwife. Our practical skills include all the usual things of blood pressure and urine checks, listening to baby’s heartbeat (auscultation), checking baby’s position before birth, assisting births and stiches (if needed). At many births we spend most of our time watching quietly, supporting the birthing person to follow nature’s cues.
I have a particular interest in complex pregnancy – when the pregnant person or the baby have health issues/concerns; socially complex situations such as surrogacy; or pregnancy after loss or long struggles with fertility issues.
The last few months have been busy and very varied for me. My work has included:
- Pre-conception planning consultations.
- Birth debrief consultations, reviewing birth notes and helping clients to for understand what happened during their birth (and, where possible, to make a plan to do things differently next time).
- Continuity of midwifery care, through pregnancy, at birth and after birth for people having both home and hospital births.
- Advocacy for clients, supporting their informed choices which were outside NHS guidelines.
- Homebirths, waterbirths and land births, including using hypnobirthing and biomechanics for birth techniques.
- Supported clients to establish breast feeding in complex situations (including baby in neonatal unit).
- Private pre-birth preparation sessions for people who preferred not to access group classes or had specific concerns and requirements
- Midwifery care (before and after birth) for a client having her baby in a private hospital in London https://yourmidwife.org.uk/private-c-section-wrap-around-care/.
- One-off consultations to discuss specific concerns or choices about care or interventions in pregnancy, and to enable family members to become involved
- Screening tests additional to the tests offered by the NHS (including NIPT, fetal rhesus RHD tests and GBS swabs).
- Specialist midwifery care for several clients facing pre-natal diagnosis, supporting them to gain information, arranging other specialist input and providing a safe and supportive space to explore their feelings, to enable them to make the decision that was right for them.
- Specialist midwifery care, providing continuity of care (including planned c/section) for a family whose baby faced complex issues, involving multiple professional teams.
- Specialist midwifery care for a couple whose baby was know to face challenges and who was, tragically, stillborn.
- Counselling and practical support for clients coping with pregnancy loss.
It has become readily accepted that people have private dentists or physios. Choosing to employ a private midwife can be seen in a similar way. Sometimes the NHS simply cannot provide the frequency or continuity of care that you would like or that you feel you need. Sometimes you need more time to explore thoughts or concerns. Sometimes you just want a second opinion. You may need a safe and supportive space to explore very difficult decisions.
If you are looking for a private midwife in East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey, including Brighton, Worthing, Horsham, Haywards Heath, Uckfield, East Grinstead, Lewes, Eastbourne etc, please give me a call.
In special circumstances I sometimes go further afield for specific reasons, and can also offer virtual consultations.