Private midwife/doula - are they worth it?(6 Posts)
I'm currently 10+4 with dc2. I didn't have a very positive experience with DS's birth - although the outcome was fine and it was not as harrowing as some other stories I've since heard.
I bear a lot of the blame for this, I underestimated how important the process would be, naively thought that I wouldn't care how the baby came and, as such, did very little in the way of prep.
In short, my waters broke, I had (what felt to me anyway!) intense pre-labour and didn't progress (still 1-2cm 24 hours later). MWs, understandably as they were busy, pretty much left me to it. After a disappointing cervix check the MW told me she'd be back in 3-4 hours to check again. Shortly after that, I panicked and requested an epidural. Then followed 2 days of a predictable cascade of intervention (syntocin, ventouse, episiotomy), which left me wrung out and totally disinterested in my son. I didn't hug him, feed him or even ask what sex he was an it makes me so sad.
I'm determined to do as much as I can to ensure dc2's birth is better, although accept I can only do so much and things will be the way they are.
My DM has very kindly offered to pay for a private midwife for me. I am tempted as I think I would have managed better had I had someone with me 100%, talking me down so to speak. However, it's a lot of money. So I'd be grateful for any of your experiences with a private MW and whether you think it makes a difference?
I'd also be keen to know the difference between a private MW and a doula, as a doula seems a lot cheaper but most of them seem to be retired/ex-MWs.
Finally, would I encounter hostility from the Nhs MWs if I brought in my own with me? It's not a judgement on them, but they are clearly overworked due to 2 other maternity wings in the area closing in recent years and I just felt they didn't have time for me, as I wasn't anywhere near giving birth I just wasn't a priority.
Private mws mainly do home births because hospitals usually do not allow them to undertake deliveries if they are not employed there. In a hospital, they would be acting like a very experienced doula. A complicating factor is that come october, their ability to do home births is at risk because of changes in legislation around insurance.
As an NHS mw, i have no hostility to private mws or doulas. Just an expectation of mutual respect.
One thing i would suggest is to investigate local midwifery-led NHS services such as birth centres or home birth. They tend to be staffed by enthusiasts who would like you to have the best possble normal birth.
We interviewed a couple. Katrina from Yours Maternally was fantastic but we decided against it as I was unsure of a home birth which they mainly do (although they will obviously occapny you if you for into hospital) and the cost was too much for.
One thing she mentioned and, I had my suspicions bout, was that private midwives, working on their own, can overbook themselves and grab help for other private midwives at the last minute to 'catch the baby'! So you might want to ask about this if you go down that route.
In place we did NCT, Hypnobirthing and Baby first aid courses. I also did a LOT of research into our birthing locations and on the encouragement of our Hypnobirthing teacher changed to a hospital 45 mins away as it had great reviews and allowed Dads to stay overnight postnatally.
We had a good experience but in hindsight I would have paid for a postnatal doula as I could have done with the support and out community midwives really were not up to the task!
A doula is not qualified to deliver a baby but could be invaluable as a support partner. I teach pregnancy yoga and have had very positive outcomes from my clients. I've heared good things about hypnotherapy for birth too.
I have an independent midwife, although I intend to have an elective section.
I was treated terribly but mainly rude, aggressive staff during my first pregnancy (which has taken me 11 years to get over and even contemplate another child), so for me, I am paying her to come to my house for anti natal appointments, come to the consultant with me as an advocate and to be at the birth as an advocate.
She will also visit postnatally too so I won't have to see different midwives etc when the baby is born.
It's all part of protecting myself this time round.
I had an amazing experience with my independent midwives. Definitely worth the money. They were more like friends in the end and I felt so comfortable and confident with them. I did have a (brilliant!) homebirth in the end, but didn't set out initially to do that. Even if you have a hospital birth I think it would be very worthwhile. The ones I went with only took on two ladies per month. Definitely interview some local ones and make your decisions after that. The postnatal experience was also brilliant, think they visited every day for the first week, often just for a cup of tea and a chat about how things were going. Unfortunately we've moved since my last birth so I can't use them again, and there aren't any close enough to me this time so I'm relying on the NHS. The midwives I've seen are fine, but it's not quite the same as the relationship you develop with an indepenent. Am not sure what's happening about the changes in October, but you can ask about that directly when you interview people.
Best of luck.
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