Choosing the place of birth is a very personal choice, and should be respected. I believe that a woman should have the freedom to give birth where she feels most well supported, safest and most comfortable. Independent midwives are experienced in providing the required care for women choosing to birth at home.
One off appointments
I am happy to meet with women for a one off appointment if there is something in particular you would like to talk about relating to pregnancy, birth or early parenting (first 6 weeks).
Pregnancy appointments usually take place in the pregnant woman's home. They last for approximately 1hr. In this time we will talk about the physiological, medical, social and emotional aspects of your pregnancy.
I will also feel and measure your growing tummy, take your pulse and blood pressure and listen to your baby's heart rate. If and when I detect that something about your pregnancy is outside of the 'normal' expectations, we will talk about it and I would usually suggest that we seek the support of another healthcare provider eg GP, complementary therapist or specialist obstetrician.
Most women also see their GP to have the recommended blood tests and obtain referrals for ultrasounds if desired.
On average I would visit once a month until 7 months of pregnancy, then every 2 weeks until 8 months, and then weekly until the birth.
Sometimes women feel they need more frequent visits and that is also fine.
Birth at Home
For home births, I work alongside another independent midwife. Often a woman chooses a 'primary' midwife and a 'secondary' midwife. The primary midwife takes responsibility for most of the care throughout pregnancy but both midwives attend the birth. You will meet the secondary midwife at least once during pregnancy. Sometimes two midwives share the care equally.
I will come to your home as labour is establishing. When I think that birth is imminent (within a few hours) I will call the second midwife to be in attendance too. We will support you through the challenges of labour and monitor you and your baby to be sure that you are both coping well. If there are signs that medical help would be beneficial, we will transfer to hospital. But in most cases mother and baby stay strong and healthy as labour progresses to a non-interventionist birth. Your midwives will carry some emergency medications for use at home if it becomes necessary.
If transfer to hospital is necessary during a planned home birth, do not despair. Sometimes hospital is the best place to be and beautiful births do happen there. Of course, your independent midwife will stay with you throughout labour and birth in the hospital.
After you have had your baby your midwives will stay with you for a few hours to make sure your blood loss settles down, your baby is well and feeding, and you can pass urine. Then I will visit you each day for a few days. Giving birth, while being a natural event, is an extreme physical challenge. I will support you while baby settles in to life outside the uterus and breastfeeding is established. Breastfeeding (like birth itself) is normal and natural but brings with it many challenges that often need some experienced guidance to be overcome. We work out how many postnatal visits are necessary depending on how you and your baby are feeling. Often I will make a 2 week visit to say 'good bye'.