An independent midwife is a midwife who works outside of the NHS and provides care to pregnant women and their families on a self-employed basis. Independent midwives can provide care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, birth centers, and homes.
Independent midwives offer a range of services, including:
- Antenatal care: This includes regular checkups, blood tests, and ultrasounds to monitor the health of the mother and baby.
- Birth care: Independent midwives can attend births at home, in a birth center, or in a hospital. They provide support and guidance to the mother throughout labor and delivery.
- Postnatal care: This includes checkups for the mother and baby after birth, as well as breastfeeding support and other advice on new parenthood.
Independent midwives typically have smaller caseloads than NHS midwives, which means they can spend more time with each woman and her family. They are also able to offer more personalized care and support, and they are more flexible in terms of the services they provide.
To become an independent midwife, a person must first qualify as a registered midwife. Once qualified, they can then choose to work for the NHS or to set up their own practice. Independent midwives are regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and are subject to the same standards of care as NHS midwives.
Benefits of choosing an independent midwife
There are a number of potential benefits to choosing an independent midwife, including:
- More personalized care: Independent midwives typically have smaller caseloads than NHS midwives, which means they can spend more time with each woman and her family. This can lead to a more personalized and supportive experience.
- More flexibility: Independent midwives are more flexible in terms of the services they provide and the times and places where they offer care. This can be particularly beneficial for women who have specific needs or preferences.
- Continuity of care: Independent midwives can provide care to a woman throughout her pregnancy, birth, and postnatal period. This can provide continuity of care and support, which can be important for both the mother and the baby.
Cost of independent midwifery
Independent midwifery is typically more expensive than NHS care. However, some women may find that the benefits of independent midwifery outweigh the costs. There are also a number of ways to reduce the cost of independent midwifery, such as paying in installments or using a birth insurance policy.
If you are considering choosing an independent midwife
If you are considering choosing an independent midwife, it is important to do your research and find a midwife who is qualified and experienced. It is also important to discuss your needs and preferences with the midwife to make sure that they are a good fit for you.
Here are some questions you may want to ask an independent midwife before choosing them:
- What are your qualifications and experience?
- What kind of care do you provide?
- Where do you provide care?
- What are your fees?
- What are your policies on things like home birth and interventions?
- How do you handle emergencies?
It is also important to meet the midwife in person before making a decision. This will give you a chance to ask questions and get to know them. You should feel comfortable and confident with the midwife you choose.