One of the important decisions you need to make during pregnancy is who will be your care provider. Many women will choose to use a private midwife, writes Alexandra Inyama.
Research shows that choosing a private midwife leads to better outcomes, including greater satisfaction and better continuity of care.
What is a private midwife?
Midwives are specialists in providing caring for women and babies during pregnancy, birth and in the early weeks of motherhood.
A private midwife is a fully qualified midwife who is registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council but has chosen to work outside the NHS in a self-employed capacity.
There are currently approximately 150 independent midwives in the UK.
According to Independent Midwifery UK, the role of an independent midwife is to care for a woman and her family throughout pregnancy, as she births her baby and supports the family afterwards.
Independent midwives are required to keep up to date with their practice and are only allowed to act within their sphere of competence as midwives.
They often work in partnerships or have close connections with other independent midwives, enabling them to provide seamless care to the women who use their services.
What does a private midwife do?
A private midwife will see you for your first booking appointment when they will discuss your medical history. They will take detailed medical notes about you such as any previous births and ask you about your mental health.
They will discuss all the antenatal screening tests available in pregnancy. These include blood tests to check for iron levels, your blood group and blood sugar; antibodies, blood disorders; infectious diseases and screening for genetic conditions.
You will also discuss the right time to have an ultrasound scan to check baby’s growth and well-being.
Part of their role is to also provide advice on keeping fit, healthy, and safe in pregnancy through diet, supplements, and exercise.
You will then meet your private midwife at regular intervals throughout your pregnancy to check your blood pressure, urine, listen to baby’s heartbeat, discuss emotional wellbeing and answer any questions you may have.
However, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or develop any, you will also need the care of an obstetrician.
You will still continue to see your midwife alongside any specialist input that may be required.
Once you get close to your due date, your midwife will discuss your birth options with you.
How do I choose a private midwife?
It’s important to choose the right private midwife for you and you can begin your search by visiting our Antenatal Care page.
“The word ‘midwife’ means ‘with woman’ and that is exactly what we will do!” says private midwife Alexandra Inyama.
“We are there for you in pregnancy and when you go home from the hospital with your beautiful new baby. We we will be right there to support you, like a best friend who to experience the whole journey with you.”