Do you wish you could choose your midwife? Do you wish you had care from the same midwife throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond? Would you like time to discuss your questions with an expert? Time and support to make decisions about your care in pregnancy and your birth choices? Midwives working in the NHS are under extreme pressure (I know, I was one until earlier this year). Most hospitals are trialling schemes to provide continuity of care, but this may be with a team of midwives rather than just one person, and you are unlikely to be able to choose who you see. Even with the best schemes, time with your midwife can be very short. It is worth considering using an independent or private midwife to complement the NHS service. How can you find the best private midwife in Surrey and Sussex for your particular situation?

The terms private midwife and independent midwife are virtually interchangeable in the UK. Both refer to midwives who work outside of the NHS, most working independently, making their own decisions about their remit and style of practice. Working in this way means that you pay directly for their services. All midwives in the UK have to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. In addition I am registered with the Care Quality Commission in relation to the work I do with non-invasive testing (NIPT).

I hear many people say “I would love a private midwife, but….” with a variety of reasons then being given. The most common suggested are wanting/needing a hospital birth, complex issues for mother or baby meaning that care from an obstetrician is needed, and the cost. In fact, a private midwife can really help when things are complicated, a private midwife can be with you during a hospital birth and the cost may be much lower than you might have thought.

In other areas of healthcare it has become commonplace to pay for add-on services to complement your NHS care. If you have back pain and NHS services are limited, many people will access private care from a physio or osteopath for example. This is not a rejection of the NHS, it is just acknowledgement that services are limited and you have a choice. The NHS cannot provide everything we would like, when and how we would like it. In my opinion there is a great deal of fantastic care provided in most maternity teams, but sometimes you want a bit more or something a bit different. The good news is that you can have both!

Read more about my background here.

The services offered by private midwives varies widely. The profession of midwifery is very broad and each of us develops skills and expertise in certain areas. There are private midwives who specialise in homebirths, those who support women who choose to have no contact with the NHS, those who only work in private hospitals alongside private obstetricians, and midwives who have expert skills in particular areas. Insurance restrictions in the UK mean that if you birth in an NHS hospital a private midwife cannot provide hands-on midwifery care to you while you are there. What we can do, however, is to attend as your supporter, coach and advocate. In my experience this is incredibly useful, especially if there are unusual or complex issues for mum or baby.

If you want a private midwife in Surrey and Sussex, I have a network of colleagues in the South East, who have complementary skills to my own, or simply offer a slightly different style of working. Emma Mills is a midwife with specialist skills to work with those who have experienced birth trauma. Lynsey Adams is a midwife with a specialist interest in gestational diabetes. Like me, they both offer one-off consultations as well as packages of care. I specialise in pregnancies where there are concerns about the baby’s development or wellbeing or pregnancy after loss. All of us offer general midwifery consultations and advice.

If you want a bit more time and continuity than the NHS can provide, or you want to find an expert in a particular field, please contact one of us. We are always happy to talk about your options and will support you to find what works for you. See some of the most  frequently asked questions here. If you are looking for other professional advice, such as specialist breastfeeding support, massage therapy, exercise classes in pregnancy or for a private ultrasound scan we often introduce you to a local expert who we know and trust. You may also like to access The Luna Hive who have an extensive range of specialist contacts across Surrey and Sussex.