As a private midwife, I have the honour of providing support at the time of birth to women in a wide range of situations. Most people only associate private midwives with home births, but I support both home birth and hospital birth. My specialist skills enable me to support those whose pregnancies end too soon (through miscarriage or premature labour) and women who make the ultimate sacrifice of compassionate induction (termination for fetal abnormality). I work with surrogates and intended parents to provide support at the time of birth to manage the situation sensitively and in accordance with their shared wishes. I work with parents who know that their baby has major health issues and will need extensive specialist care commencing immediately after birth.
Whatever the circumstances, one-to-one support at the time of birth from a midwife who you have chosen to work can be very powerful. This is well recognised by the NHS, but funding and staff shortages make true continuity with your choice of midwife a very rare experience. If you are able to consider buying additional care, this can be a game changer. One of the greatest joys of private midwifery for me is that I have time for you. We build a relationship, I get to know what is important for you, your hopes and fears, and can then I support and guide you. As an NHS midwife, discussion of birth preferences or birth plans was rarely something I could spend enough time on to discuss the issues in any detail. I have often heard women say that they were asked to write a birth plan but had no idea even what the options were or how to choose. As a private midwife, I can spend time (ideally gradually, as the pregnancy progresses) providing you with information which is relevant to your situation. We can discuss the circumstances under which, for example a caesarean section can be the safest option for mum and baby. We can discuss possible labour experience and for example whether hypnobirthing or an epidural are most in line with your beliefs and preferences. We can also talk about the options you don’t expect to want, so that you have a clear understanding and if things don’t go to plan you are armed with knowledge.
If you or your baby face usual issues or concerns, I can help facilitate planning meetings with relevant specialists so that you know that plans have been made to address these. Often the plans are complex, and are flexible according to the way events unfold. As your advocate and guide I will work to enable the very best care for you and your baby, whatever issues there are. In my experience, knowing that I will manage the technical and professional issues often enables women to focus on the physical process of labour and birth.
Hospital birth and caesarean section
Home birth is not right for everyone. If you prefer or need to birth in hospital, the role of a private midwife is slightly different to the role at a homebirth, but you can combine NHS hospital care with private midwifery support to get great care. In most UK hospitals, insurance restrictions mean that a private midwife is required to hand over primary clinical responsibility to a midwife employed by the hospital. I can still be there with you, providing support, information and advocacy. This can be seem as similar to the role of a doula, but with the major difference that I am a qualified and experienced midwife so can observe and interpret events accurately for you and often provide a valuable second opinion. In many hospital births the midwife responsible for your care will also be caring for other women, and will be subject to the hospital shift pattern, meaning that you can experience rather fragmented care. Working independently, I stay with you. I work with women who have other involved birth partners (eg their husband/ mum/ friend) as well as women who are without family support for whatever reason.
If the reason for a hospital birth is that you or your baby face medical issues, it is often very reassuring to know that I am there, knowing your story and able to ensure that the issues are remembered and managed appropriately.
Having shared the birth experience with you, I can review events with you later, celebrating positive experiences and helping you to make sense of what can be rather muddled memories if things became more complicated.
Urgent call out
Sometimes I do not have the opportunity to meet a family in advance, because they call me when an unexpected issue arises. I am experienced at entering emotionally and physically complex situations to provide advice, care and support at the time of birth. If you. or someone you love, needs urgent support in a complicated labour, or if you are given the devastating news that your baby has an unexpected major problem or has died please call me, any time, day or night.