The Role of a Midwife

In early May we celebrated International Midwife Day, but what does a midwife do and how can they support you during your pregnancy and beyond? We take a quick look at the important role of a midwife and the ways in which they can help.

Different Midwifes in the NHS

Within the NHS you are likely to come across two different types of midwifes:

- Community Midwives – tend to work in teams and will either visit you at home or you will visit them at a clinic. The Community Midwife Team tends to be who you will have the most contact with and ideally the same midwife throughout your pregnancy and beyond. If you opt for a homebirth it will be the responsibility of the Community Midwife to help you prepare for the birth as well as assist you during the birth of your baby.
- Hospital Midwives – are based in the hospital, birth centre or midwife led centre and they staff the antenatal care, labour ward and postnatal ward.

A Midwife’s Role

Once you have informed your doctor’s surgery that you are pregnant, you will be passed to the Community Midwife Team who will be involved in your care from your Booking-In Session up until after your baby is born, as long as your pregnancy is considered normal. Following your Booking-In Session, you will regularly see your midwife at varying stages throughout your pregnancy which will then increase in regularity closer to the birth. The midwife will carry out a number of checks to ensure everything is progressing as it should, as well as answer any questions your may have or concerns. If you choose to have a hospital birth, you will likely see a different midwife in hospital to that you have seen throughout your pregnancy. If, however you opt for a home birth then you will be looked after by the Community Midwife Team who have been with you throughout your pregnancy. Once baby is born, whether that is at home, hospital or a centre, the Community Midwives will then visit you at home following the birth and up until you and your baby are ready to be discharged where you will then be assigned a Health Visitor. Your midwife is invaluable during those first few days with baby at home, particularly if it is your first so talk openly and ask them for help if you need it.

It is important that you have a good relationship with your midwife. Your midwife should listen to any concerns you have as well as follow your wishes throughout the pregnancy. They are likely to have seen many births and so they have plenty of knowledge to share with you, so do talk openly with them.

We’d love to hear your midwife stories – just post your comments on our blog here or our Facebook Page.

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Note: whilst we welcome feedback on this blog, we will not tolerate any abuse or misuse. Please respect the views and feelings of others. The content and advice offered is based on general recommendations and health-care professional suggestions and is designed to be used as a guide and discussion piece. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis or treatment by a qualified health-care / medical professional. If in doubt, always consult your doctor or health-care professional.

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