As soon as your pregnancy reaches 10 weeks you will be assigned a midwife or a small team of midwives to support you during your pregnancy and beyond. We take a look at the roll of a midwife and what you can expect.
Different Midwives in the NHS
Within the NHS you are likely to come across two different types of midwives:
- Community Midwife – 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 most likely (but not guaranteed) you will have 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 delivery of your baby.
- Hospital Midwife – 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 when 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 time as a new parent so talk openly and ask them for help if you need it.
Support and Care
Your midwife will offer you the following support and care:
- Full antenatal care, including screenings, examinations and offer parenting classes
- Provide information on how to maintain a healthy pregnancy
- Help identify any pregnancy that may offer additional risk, e.g. twin pregnancies
- Help you with your birth plan
- Provide emotional support
- Answer any questions during or after your pregnancy
- Monitor and support you during labour and birth
- Teach you how to feed and care for your baby
Build a good relationship
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 your pregnancy. They are likely to have seen many births and so they have plenty of knowledge to share with you, so feel free to ask them anything.
We’d love to hear your midwife stories – just post your comments on our blog here or our Facebook Page.
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