Today we have an article from the fantastic Jordan Davis on a topic many expectant parents are curious about “What are the Benefits of Having a Private Midwife?”. Jordan is a Registered Midwife working in London, Founder of Curate Babies – a Natural Award wining skincare brand. She is also a certified Baby Massage and Baby Yoga Instructor.
In the UK, there are two types of practising midwives – NHS midwives and private midwives, also known as independent midwives. Independent midwives are effectively self-employed but remain under the same regulatory body as NHS midwives – which is the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). In addition to this, it is a requirement for independent midwives to hold ‘professional indemnity insurance’; legal cover for any practice they undertake as a midwife.
As you can imagine, there are some differences between our two types of midwives, but these may be of benefit to those considering hiring private midwives, to lead them through the most critical times in their lives; – let’s take a look below:
Having one to one care throughout your entire pregnancy and birth provides an excellent opportunity to build rapport and a good bond with your midwife. Unfortunately, with NHS antenatal care, it is brilliant, but women can end up seeing different midwives at each antenatal appointment which can become impersonal – having to explain your problems to different professionals can be exhausting. Throughout those nine months, you may encounter anxieties and concerns and have a surplus of questions, so who better to answer them than someone who practically knows you inside out?
Advocates for normality
Although midwives who work in NHS hospitals usually advocate for normality in labour and birth, most complex cases such as vaginal birth after caesareans (VBACs) and breech deliveries require input from obstetricians and then become medicalised. However, independent midwives see these as no different to healthy vaginal births. Many of these midwives have a wealth of knowledge under their belt and have become very experienced in twin births, VBACs and breech deliveries. Independent midwives usually deliver at home or private birth centres, but women can request for them to be present at their hospital birth as a birth companion.
The flexibility that independent midwives have with their antenatal appointments is undeniably, very beneficial for the women in their caseload. With NHS antenatal appointments, mothers-to-be only receive 20 minutes maximum to have an antenatal check, discuss concerns, ask questions and book a follow-up appointment. Being an NHS midwife myself, I can vouch for all my community and antenatal midwives by saying, we wish we had more time to answer all your questions and sit longer with you but protocols and policies say otherwise. Independent midwives run on their time, which means not only can they sit with you for as long as they can, they can meet with you wherever and whenever. For working mothers, antenatal appointments can be held in the evenings and on weekends, and these can be held in the home or in a more convenient location.
On call 24/7
Independent midwives are on call, basically 24/7. Whether women need reassurance at the crack of dawn or the late hours of the night, independent midwives can be contacted via email or phone. Women will usually be introduced to and cared for by two midwives who will be present at the birth to ensure familiarity and trust. Even if one midwife has to attend another delivery, there will be another professional who the woman already knows.
It is crucial for me to recognise and acknowledge the fantastic work of my fellow NHS midwives. They work tirelessly despite the constraints, stress and endless fatigue. Nonetheless, I hope this has been a helpful insight into the benefits of hiring independent midwives.
If you would like to find your nearest independant midwife, you can find your nearest independent midwife or doula on our website.