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Midwife-Led Care Packages

Pregnancy and birth is such a special time and every mum-to-be wants to have an experience that is both positive and memorable. Having a private birth means you have more available options and can tailor your obstetrician and/or midwifery team to your personal needs. Of these, midwife-led care is not only increasingly popular but a safe, natural, and less medical option. With the entire pregnancy and birth overseen by a dedicated team of midwives this birth choice is unique in creating dependable and trusted relationships between the midwives and expectant mothers. This level of familiarity brings comfort and confidence, has many psychological and physical benefits and has been proven to have very positive results, although you should bear in mind that it is a suitable option only for low-risk pregnancies and births.

A Maternity Room In The Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital, London

In September 2015 Cochrane (an international independent organisation, established to ensure that accurate information about the effects of healthcare interventions is readily available) published their Review, “Midwife-led continuity models versus other models of care for childbearing women”.1

The Review’s evidence of 15 separate studies, involving 17,674 women, outlines the advantages of this type of continuity of care with someone ‘known’ supporting the mother throughout the birth. Although there are many advantages, the most significant of these are the reduction in instrumental delivery rates (such as forceps-delivery), epidural use, and episiotomies, and the increased chance of having a spontaneous vaginal birth. The study recommends that:

Most women should be offered midwife-led continuity models of care, although caution should be exercised in applying this advice to women with substantial medical or obstetric complications.

Jenny Smith, Lead Midwife - The Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea HospitalWe spoke to Jenny Smith, lead midwife at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital, to find out how midwife-led care works. For over 30 years Jenny has seen first hand how reassuring it is to maintain trusted relationships throughout pregnancy, birth and beyond, and in 2015 she introduced the hospital’s private midwifery-led service for low-risk pregnancies as an alternative to the existing obstetrician-led package.

She emphasised how a more natural, less medical approach is at the heart of their midwife-led care package, which aims to create a birth as closely in tune with the family’s wishes as possible. To achieve this, the midwifery team concentrates on building good relationships with a high level of one-to-one contact. Mums-to-be will have a dependable, experienced midwife who can reassure and inform her every step of the way. It is a relationship that benefits both the mums, who feel more confident as a result, and the midwives, who are able to gain a much better understanding of their expectant mums during the months leading up to the birth. Having open lines of communication with a professional that the mother knows well means that she can have peace of mind throughout pregnancy, and ensures that on the day of the birth itself she is surrounded by familiar faces in a comfortable setting.

Introducing Pregnancy Week By Week – your guide to the stages of maternity.

To develop this close relationship with your midwife, from your first meeting at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital there are monthly appointments until 28 weeks, then every 2 weeks to 36 weeks, and finally every week until the baby is born, together with 24-hour support via text and phone. The rest of the family is included at all times with both the medical and emotional aspects of pregnancy. Jenny spends a lot of time with both parents ensuring that their ideas are taken on board and helping them to adapt mentally to what is to come. All birth partners are encouraged to attend the birth rehearsal that takes place at week 36 during which mums-to-be and partners talk through, not only their ideal birth plan, but also other eventualities that may occur beyond what has already been considered.

The Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital, London

Safety for both mother and child is never compromised, and the private unit within Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea allows for immediate access to the acute support services within the wider facilities of the hospital. If there is a change of circumstance during pregnancy or birth, parents can rely on the obstetric department and emergency services 24 hours a day. At around £7,000, the midwife-led care package is less expensive than an obstetrician-led package, but parents should consider that if complications occur during their pregnancy there is a choice to share care with a private obstetrician at an additional cost. Regardless, the midwife will remain with the mother throughout.

Pregnancy and birth is a very personal experience – a mix of both apprehension and excitement. The midwife-led care package enables parents-to-be to get the most out of this life changing event by providing consistent, one-to-one contact with a professional they know well: a friend and midwife who will walk the journey with them, alleviating the anxiety, sharing the triumphs, and empowering mothers, who experience straightforward pregnancies, with the confidence to achieve the kind of birth they have wished for.

REFERENCES

 [1] Sandall, J. Midwife-led continuity models versus other models of care for childbearing women. Cochrane.org, 15 September 2015. Web.

If you are interested in Midwife-Led Care packages, please see our list of Midwifery Care Practices, Private Midwives and Private Maternity Care Clinics and Hospitals. These carefully selected clinics and practitioners can provide you with any and all information you may need in beginning your journey towards parenthood.

We would like to thank the team at Imperial Private Healthcare that manages Sir Stanley Clayton Ward at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital, and lead midwife Jenny Smith for providing their specialist knowledge for this article.

Please contact The Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital directly for further information:
Tel: +44 (0) 203 313 1466
Email: imperial.stanleyclaytonward@nhs.net
OR visit the website: imperialprivatehealthcare.co.uk/queen-charlottes-chelsea-hospital/

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