Midwives are an essential factor in any pregnancy plan, but the amount of time you get with them may be limited, so, is it worth considering private midwifery? We look into how a private midwife might change your birthing experience.
What are the benefits of using a private midwife?
The benefits begin with the whole process being arranged around you and your needs. Considering private midwifery means that you see the same person throughout pregnancy, birth and post-birth, so you get to know and trust your midwife. They will be available for advice and support throughout, so all your little worries or concerns are answered quickly. Also, appointments are usually in your own home at a time convenient for you and your family, so you won’t need to take time off work or attend a clinic. This also means that partners and siblings can be involved, listening to baby’s heartbeat and getting involved as the baby develops. Your midwife will be with you every step of the way and make sure you are never feeling alone. Occasionally, a private midwife will offer services that are not easily accessible on the NHS, such as home birth where you know the midwife who will be with you throughout labour and birth.
See also: What to Expect During My Pregnancy
What training do private midwives receive?
In the UK, all Midwives are required to undertake an approved midwifery degree training programme that lasts about three years. Training involves theory, practical skills and also an assessment of human elements such as listening and personable skills and compassion. Sometimes, nurses can go on to train as a midwife and be dual qualified after completing a shortened course of about 18 months. At the end, the midwife is registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council – who are the regulator. Midwives are then required to undertake on-going education and assessments throughout their careers. This is reviewed every three years when they undergo a process called revalidation. The same standards apply to NHS and private midwives.
What would you recommend researching when considering a birthing plan? How could a private midwife help with this?
A birth plan is a way of putting down your hopes, preferences and choices down in a structured way so that the people caring for you know what you would like. This may include preferences about positions in labour, water birth, pain relief and breastfeeding for example. Birth can be unpredictable, and things don’t always go to plan, but it can be helpful to think things through and explore your options before hand. It’s helpful considering private midwifery as it allows these discussions to take place throughout your care and form an on-going part of your relationship with your midwife. It can be confusing at times, and there is a lot to take in and make sense of, so even if you are not planning to have a private midwife with you for birth, you may decide to book a single appointment to spend time going through all of your options and helping you make sense of the information.
See also: What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Once I've decided on my birth plan, what preparations do I need to make?
This very much depends on what your choices and preferences are. Preparations for a hospital birth will typically involve thinking about what you want to take into the hospital, knowing how to contact them and when, deciding who will look after your other children or feed the dog, and be clear about how you will get to the hospital.
If you are planning a home birth, your preparations will be a bit different. You may want to use a birthing pool and if so you should ensure you purchase this with plenty of time to have a “trial run” so you know where it will be, how to fill it and empty it, and how long it takes to fill it. You may also want to think about your birth environment, candles, music, and perhaps a mood board to keep you in a positive and relaxed state of mind. Most importantly, you need to be sure that you have confidence in the people who will be with you.
How do I make the most out of appointments with my midwife?
Your midwife will be keen to complete a holistic assessment of you and baby to ensure everything is going well physically and emotionally. However, this is also a time for you to ask questions, get information and obtain advice. You may find it helpful to have a list of questions to ask your midwife or a topic that you would like to discuss at each visit. If you can tell your midwife in advance, then she may be able to bring some pictures or information with her that will be useful to you. A private midwife will typically spend over an hour with you, so ask her to visit when you have the time to talk.
What should I investigate before considering private midwifery?
Have a think about what is important to you. This may include having the same person with you throughout; appointments in your own home, in an unhurried environment; involving the family in your care; evening and weekend appointments; choosing the people who will share this journey with you or perhaps a particular skill, such as an experienced home birth midwife. For some women, it is the care after birth that is important, particularly help with breast-feeding. The next step is to choose your midwife. The relationship is very personal, and it is important to choose the right person. Ask about their qualifications and experience, indemnity insurance and safety records. Ask for feedback from other women they have cared for. Once you have chosen your midwife, you need to think through how you will pay for your care. Normally there is a range of payment options available to you to make things as easy and accessible as possible.
How often should I see my midwife?
The recommendation is an early dating scan and then about six scheduled midwifery appointments during pregnancy. When considering private midwifery, this is made easier as your appointments are tailor made around you and tend to be more frequent so that you have time to discuss your options and choices. Your parent education and relaxation sessions are included within your appointments. A typical visit plan may include about 16 visits. After the baby is born, visits are again tailored to you and your needs and are as frequent as you need. If at any time you are worried or concerned about you or your baby, you should call your midwife at once.
Private Midwives provide private midwifery services in the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands –– providing high quality, safe and effective care; tailor made to your individual needs and circumstances.
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