So we’ve all seen the famous hit TV show based in the East End where the midwives hopped on their bicycles, everyone knew them and they knew everyone.
When I trained as a Midwife the Midwife was linked to a GP practice and as soon as a woman saw the GP to have her pregnancy confirmed the GP would hand over her antenatal care to the Midwife. Throughout her pregnancy the Midwife would get to know the lady and her family, would refer to consultants if necessary but would not only take care of her physical but also her emotional needs. As time has gone on and birth rates increased, many trusts have moved over to a system of ‘Team Midwifery’ meaning that the woman’s care is shared between one of a team of midwives and her GP, it roughly works out alternate visits but does very much depend on whether you are classed as high or low risk. Having an allocated team of midwives rather than an individual Midwife does have some benefits as the team usually rotate on to the Birthing areas of the hospitals so you may well see one of your team when ‘D day’ arrives.
Some women will choose to opt for the Private Obstetrician route that will look after them throughout their pregnancy and then will also be around at the time of birth, either to oversee the happy event or to lead the delivery depending on how the birth is planned. The woman would then have the option of booking in with a Private Midwife to help look after her and her baby once home or opt back in to the NHS team of midwives that covers their areas.
Two years ago I made the scary step to leave the NHS and embark on a journey as an Independent or Private Midwife and often get asked why I made that choice. For me working as a Private Midwife gives me the flexibility to be able to provide seamless care for the woman and her family. It enables me to get to know them as a person or a couple and give truly individualised care. Without the time constraints it allows me to spend as much time as needed with my clients and for the client they too appreciate the continuity of having that single point of contact that they can form a relationship with and build up trust with. There was nothing more frustrating than not being able to put in as many support visits I would have liked to ensure the family are off to a good start, working privately means I have the flexibility to deliver as much care as that family needs.
The NHS is one of Britain’s greatest establishments, that’s not to say there isn’t room for improvements and that they always get things right but essentially the Midwives, Nurses and Doctors that work within the NHS do so because they are passionate about their jobs and the desire to help and make a difference to people. Maternity services are one of the most critical and criticised areas as birthing can be such an emotive time.
There is a wealth of information available to expectant families but anyone who has any questions is welcome to pop into the shop, every day is an ‘Ask The Midwife Day’ here at Bababoom.