Finding the best maternity care can seem daunting, there is a multitude of options available. I think the key here is to remember that the “best” maternity care is the care that is right for you. Every birth, as is every woman, is different. What is right for one woman is not always right for another. Circumstances and situations change and what worked previously may not be right this time.
So here are some things you might like to think about when planning for such a precious and special event.
Do you want to give birth at home or in a hospital?
Be realistic and take on board what the professionals are telling you. If you are at risk of complications you may be advised to only give birth in a hospital where all the possible back up needed is available. You can read more about London’s private maternity hospitals and wards here, or you may choose to employ a private or independent midwife to deliver your baby at home.
What is your current family situation?
Think about who might look after any siblings, where will they be if you are delivering at home? Do you have someone to support you during the birth? Not everyone has a partner or wants their partner to be there. There is a whole myriad of reasons why your partner may not be able to be with you. If this is the case you might like to think about employing a private or independent midwife or birth doula who you can get to know before you give birth.
They can be with you at the birth and depending on where you are giving birth and the package you have paid for, your midwife will either be delivering your baby or supporting you as your birth partner. You may not have heard about a birth doula before, but you can read more about how they can help here.
If you are giving birth in a private hospital, make sure you are clear on what is included in your package. How much antenatal care is included?
Do you want private antenatal Care?
Private midwives can provide antenatal care for you and these appointments make sure you and baby are doing well. They give you a chance to discuss any issues and will give you the information and power to plan the birth as you want it to be.
Appointments with a private midwife are often more flexible as to when they can be scheduled. These appointments are conducted in your own home or a mutually agreeable place at a time convenient to you. A private midwife offers continuity of care, you will normally see the same midwife throughout your pregnancy and get to know her.
Typically, you will also have the back up of your midwife between appointments via telephone so that should you have any niggling questions or any problems you can contact them before your next appointment.
Group parenting classes are not for everyone, you may not feel comfortable in a group or your own schedule may not allow for you to attend, a private midwife can provide this information to you in your own home.
Do you need support during birth?
If you choose to give birth in a hospital, your midwife can be with you at home during early labour supporting you and will then go with you to the hospital and continue to support you as your birthing partner. Please note some private hospitals offer midwife lead care, in this instance your midwife would not be with you at home in early labour.
If giving birth at home, your midwife will be with you every step of the way. At home, you are calm and comfortable in your familiar surroundings. You will have got to know your midwife as she will have provided your antenatal care, so she will know what your plans are for the birth.
You may choose to have a midwife who is experienced in certain areas so that you feel comfortable and at ease that she can help you during your delivery. Remember, however, there are more risks associated with home births due to the fact that you don’t have immediate medical equipment and support should it be required, so do think carefully if this is the right step for you.
To find out more about private midwife services and the associated costs, please see here.
Do you need postnatal care?
Once the baby is born you will need some postnatal care. A private midwife will check you and your baby are doing well and they will carry out all the physical checks for baby and you. They can also support you with breastfeeding and visit you in hospital and/or at home to answer any questions you have. The number of visits you choose is up to you.
When you and baby return home you may feel you want more support and a maternity nurse or postnatal doula may be able to help you. You can read more about maternity nurses here and postnatal doulas here. Should you decide that you would like support from a maternity nurse or postnatal doula, Polo & Tweed would be delighted to help find the right fit for you.