Why hire a private Midwife?

What is a private Midwife?

Private midwives are fully qualified midwives who are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council but unlike their NHS colleagues, they have chosen a career in the private sector. Many women are looking for continuity of care during such a special and important time and may wish to hire a professional who will guide and support them from conception to delivery and into the initial weeks of parenthood.

What level of service does a private Midwife offer?

A private midwife will often join a family shortly after a pregnancy is confirmed or later on if for any reason, the family decide that they would like to take advantage of the one to one care provided through a private service. For many Mums to be, the idea of having antenatal checks in the comfort of their own home, is very appealing.

When the time comes at the onset of labour, your private midwife will be there to support you as required. This could be in the form of a home-birth, bedside support or in some cases, as an active participant in a hospital delivery. The advantage of a home delivery being that there is no pressure on time and the environment is relaxing and familiar.

If a hospital delivery is preferred, Mums have the added peace of mind that a familiar face will be there, someone who knows her and can share in the arrival of the baby she has helped to care for during pregnancy. The key is that the family feels supported, a private midwife will do her best to provide her services at the parents preferred location when it is time for baby to be born. Many private midwives also take up additional training in order to offer further complimentary services not offered by the NHS as part of the birthing process.

How are private midwives regulated?

Private midwives are no different to those working within the NHS in terms of their qualifications and regulation, they have simply chosen to work in the private sector. Midwifery is the most tightly regulated profession in the United Kingdom. Private midwives are also regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and are subject to annual supervisory checks. As such, their clinical practice is closely monitored and they are practicing within their scope of competence.

What if things don’t go to plan?

In this day and age, the risks associated with childbirth are considerably lower than they were in the past. Research has shown that for most, a homebirth is just as safe and achievable as a hospital birth, with lower risks of infection. Midwives have been specially trained to identify any problems that may occur early on and are also trained in neonatal and adult resuscitation should either be required. 

Private midwives attend regular training to ensure that their knowledge on dealing with emergency situations, is up to date. In addition to regular skills training, private midwives also carry the necessary resuscitation equipment and appropriate drugs should they be required. Equipment is checked annually by a midwife supervisor to ensure that the highest standard of care is being provided.

If you choose to deliver your baby in hospital, either through the natural birthing process or by caesarean section, your midwife will be with you. Most hospitals allow your midwife to remain with you throughout your labour and delivery, some may even permit them to participate if policy allows. A private midwife can play an important role as your advocate. If for any reason, your birth plan changes, she will be able to guide and advise you and act as a mediator between you and the other professionals involved in your care.

Am I still entitled to NHS care if I hire a private Midwife?

Yes. The Department of Health supports women in their choice to hire a private midwife, they are clear on their message that you are not opting out of NHS care. All antenatal tests and specialist care appointments are still provided by the NHS. Should you require emergency care at any stage of your pregnancy, you are entitled to NHS care in the same way you would have been without hiring a private midwife to assist in your antenatal and postnatal care. Your private midwife also has the same referral rights as NHS midwives.

Search on Childcare.co.uk for a private midwife in your area. She will be able to provide you with further information on the services offered.

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