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Your views on a Private Midwife

(30 Posts)
LillyC Thu 10-Mar-16 21:19:12

Hello all, first time mom here
Thumbs up if the first thing you've thought about when you discovered you were pregnant was: now what? I've always panicked about child labour, I knew the day I would become pregnant I would stress out and this is one of the things that stresses me the most. Now to add up, I live in London and I don't trust the NHS.... I simply don't get why we are never seen by a doctor, which is the common practice in most places in Europe. But worst, it's knowing I would be in a hospital for hours agonising and being ignored because I'm being childish or I can't take the pain. Nurses are over worked and they simply don't care (most of them) about how you feel, as if it wasn't stressful enough for a first time mom.
I thought about going to a full private clinic, but I don't have an insurance that covers birth (again this is common practice in the rest of Europe, not in uk) so the thought of spending around £20k on top of all the baby expenses is putting me off. Plus the private hospital (I was looking into the Kensington Wing) is 30m away from me whereas the Isleworth maternity is just 7m. Once the waters break, this will make a difference I suppose.
Then I thought about having a private midwife to be there with me (from the UK Birth centre), but I have a few questions really.
Have you used one and how was your experience? Let's just say I'm agonising in pain, can the private midwife ensure I get an epidural? Or will she be stuck by the NHS procedures and dependent on the goodwill of the NHS midwife at service?
Any feedback will be highly appreciated, thanks a lot!!!

Wigeon Thu 10-Mar-16 21:25:54

Women with no problems don't need to see a doctor because midwives are experts in childbirth and pregnant women. It's a bit like saying why don't you call a master builder when you need to change a lightbulb. I would far far rather be cared for by an experienced midwife who has seen thousands of normal births, than a doctor who has only seen the problem births. (Although I would be very happy to have a doctor care for me if medically necessary).

Why don't you trust the NHS? In my experience, and the experience of everyone I know who has had a baby on the NHS, none of us were ignored in labour, told we were childish or told we had to take the pain. Plenty of people I know had various pain relief whilst under NHS care including water baths, gas and air, pethedine, epidurals, without having to argue for it.

In my experience, the midwives (not nurses btw) who cared for me during two labours were absolutely focused on my needs, and I was not left for hours alone in pain. And this was in one of the busiest and over stretched hospitals - at no point did I feel they were to busy to care for me.

I am not sure where you have got your awful impression of NHS care.

TheCrumpettyTree Thu 10-Mar-16 21:34:46

Nurses are over worked and they simply don't care (most of them) about how you feel, as if it wasn't stressful enough for a first time mom

Wtf? Are you deliberately being goady? For a start, they're midwives. And yes us nurses do care how our patients feel. You don't need a doctor to give birth (in general).

LillyC Thu 10-Mar-16 21:38:10

As for the doctor point, yes I get that. I'm getting used to that concept and yes, as long as you have an experience person next to you that's what matters and if you need a doctor for some reason you should be referred to one.
As for the midwife care, I have read really mixed reviews about it. For some people everything went smoothly, for others they agonised for hours in the labour ward until someone finally approach them. I know midwifes - nurses overall - are overworked, tired and stressed too. My experience with NHS so far is that it doesn't matter what I have, I'll be sent home with paracetamol and rest. From the ante-natal, I was feeling absolutely terrible the day I went to the appointment, as I've been suffering since week 4 with morning sickness. I had to lay down in the bed after the blood tests as I had no energy to hold myself up and the midwife was losing her patience with me. I ended up forcing myself to go outside and throw myself in the waiting area, as I knew she needed to get done with more appointments, that's just the reality of it. She made the comment "I can't wait all day for you", which I get and I don't like to waste anyone's time either. So yes, it does scare the hell out of me what happens when the fun of labour begins and I'm left to luck of the different midwifes that will be rotating for that period.

purplefizz26 Thu 10-Mar-16 21:41:09

For a first time mum to be you seem to think you know a lot about NHS maternity care hmm

How do you 'know' you would be in hospital agonising and told you are being childish? confused what a ridiculous thing to think.

I gave birth in an NHS hospital. My baby was in danger after becoming severely distressed, the midwives (not nurses) could not have done a better job reassuring me and contributing to save my baby's life. Midwives (not doctors) are experts in all things maternity, childbirth, antenatal, postnatal etc... Why would you need to see a doctor or consultant if you have a straight forward pregnancy? Pregnancy doesn't need to be so medicalised.

I have no experience of private maternity care, but just thought you should know the NHS isn't how you think, but hey if you want to waste £20,000 on private care, go for it hmm

PotteringAlong Thu 10-Mar-16 21:43:10

Unless you're induced you'll be at home when the fun of labour begins.

Have you thought about hiring a doula?

LillyC Thu 10-Mar-16 21:45:19

This is why I was asking for more personal reviews. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I've spent a lot of time reading reviews from the NHS hospitals and also know from friends who had their babies in NHS and again a mix of reviews. Some that had amazing midwifes that did their best to make them ok and safe, others that felt abandoned at such a critical time. (As I've commented above, I get the point around the doctor for cases when you have complications only).
So in a nutshell, NHS is all about luck. I don't consider myself a person of luck this is why I was trying to understand if anyone had used a private midwife to support an NHS birth.

Goingtobeawesome Thu 10-Mar-16 21:45:45

My private midwife nearly caused a catastrophic loss and definitely did a procedure she should not have done and it was without my consent. She's lauded as something special and it pisses me off every bloody time. I went on to give birth in hospital and nearly died along with my DC. Pure luck what she did didn't start labour and devastation. The

TheCrumpettyTree Thu 10-Mar-16 21:46:40

If you aren't in active labour then yes you may well be sent home. A private midwife can ask for an epidural but if the anaesthetist is busy then you may have to wait like everyone else.

AndNowItsSeven Thu 10-Mar-16 21:48:34

You can't clog up a bed just because you have had a blood test. You are coming across as very dramatic.

LillyC Thu 10-Mar-16 21:49:18

Thank you TheCrumpettyTree. That is really helpful to know

LillyC Thu 10-Mar-16 21:50:08

It's not because I had a blood test, it was because it was early morning and I didn't manage to hold any food or water for almost 24h

tuesday123 Thu 10-Mar-16 21:56:50

Epidurals are given by anaesthetists so I don't think a private midwife will be able to sort you out with one. I've not had a private midwife though - but definitely something you need to check.

If you have the money to spend and you feel you need/want the extra attention/care that comes with paying privately, go for it. I suspect that the NHS is not going to live up to your expectations because you have a downer on it.

Personally I couldn't fault my care - things didn't go swimmingly all the time, but I'm quite happy that medicine is unpredictable & its not necessarily midwives/drs' fault if things go pear shaped. I think thats where a lot of people differ and if you are waiting for something to go wrong because your standards are not being met, then you might be better off going for private care for your peace of mind (-although that doesn't mean that things are going to go swimmingly under private healthcare!)

Good luck with it all, and i know labour is a frightful thought but it can't be that bad -everyone would stop at one otherwise!

Sparklycat Thu 10-Mar-16 21:58:28

After being repeatedly ignored by a midwife when I knew they weren't doing things properly and eventually having an emc when they reluctantly checked and realised I was right I'd not hesitate to employ a private midwife if I had the money. If I'd had a private midwife who was with me and fully focused in doing all checks etc properly I'm sure my problems would have been avoided. Peace of mind and safety is what you're buying imp.

Jammingjammingjamjam Fri 11-Mar-16 10:05:38

I totally agree with sparkly. For DC2 I'll be having a doula or independent midwife (I posted a thread about it yesterday). It's added safety as DC1 was put at risk by a midwife who told us repeatedly we didn't need to see the doctor. DC1 would have died if we hadn't seen that doctor and the midwife managed to delay us seeing the doctor for approx 2 hours. Really dangerous. You shouldn't have to fight for basic whilst in labour so nothing wrong with having someone there to do it for you. I think that your original post makes it sounds like nhs is always a bad experience. It's not, a large number of women have good experiences even when there are complications so you may find that your doula/PM wasn't essential but if you are in the proportion who don't get high quality care having someone there who has knowledge and who is willing to fight for you will be invaluable. I've posted a thread about PMs in hospital (tho I've not had a response yet), it's worth knowing they can't perform any of the midwife's duties while in hospital as they are not insured. They can be there as advice and support though. If you want a home birth they can do the whole thing for you inc. birth pools, all pain relief Except epidural. I hope that helps! Good luck!

Jammingjammingjamjam Fri 11-Mar-16 10:14:45

Thought I'd also say I wish I had been as sensible as you for DC1 and got extra help there just in case. I will be advising my friends, daughter etc to take a woman who knows what they are doing and is willing to fight if necessary (whether that be a friend, mother, doula, PM). It's not worth taking pot luck on the nhs as u say. A quick Google will show you our safety stats in uk are pretty poor compared to other western countries when it comes to birth. Like I said a lot of women have a good experience but it can't hurt to have a back up plan in case you are in the proportion that don't.

Goingtobeawesome Fri 11-Mar-16 12:19:33

What about the husband being there? He should be the one fighting for anything you need getting that isn't forthcoming.

scrumptiouscrumpets Fri 11-Mar-16 12:44:21

I have worked in hospitals and no, not all midwives are lovely, not all women are well cared for during labour, not all women are treated respectfully. Most midwives are nice, but if you are unlucky to get one you don't get along with, it could not only ruin the birth, but actually make intervention necessary. If you have the money, get a private midwife.
I think some of the replies from previous posters are blighted by envy

Sparklycat Fri 11-Mar-16 13:02:59

Goingtobeawesome they didn't listen to my husband either.

Jammingjammingjamjam Fri 11-Mar-16 13:19:58

GoingToBe- your asking a lot of someone without any medical training. My husband did his best but neither he nor I knew the NICE guidelines or how things are normally done (first baby) so we didn't realise that the guidelines werent being followed. A midwife would have known. We also didn't know how to recognise the signs of when a doctor should be called. Again a midwife would have known. My husband was actually left a bit traumatised as he didn't realise the danger we were in until it was too almost too late for DC. I'd recommend a doula or midwife to anyone. a bit of extra support won't hurt either way but could make a huge difference if something goes wrong.

ispymincepie Fri 11-Mar-16 13:20:04

The only reasons you would be denied an epidural on request in NHS care are a) you are not in labour yet b) there isn't time to site one before the baby is born c) the anaesthetist is unavailable. I understand you may view c as being unacceptable but a private midwife employed by you accompanying you in an NHS hospital would not be able to alter that.
I would love a private midwife but that is because I would like to guarantee who attends me at my home birth.
Generally NHS staff want to give the very best care they can but are sometimes frustrated that they are unable to due to shortages. Either you can work with it or go entirely private.

HBSBeeches Fri 11-Mar-16 20:19:56


The thing with the NHS is - it can be fine but sometimes it fails.

There are issues with private midwives and what they are insured to do. I believe Neighbourhood Midwives can deliver at St Thomas. Speak to Tina there. (I hired her for postnatal care.) I see no point in hiring a midwife who can't deliver in an NHS hospital. But in reality if you are in the NHS you will be treated like everyone else in terms of an epidural. They have their priorities and you have to accept that - you are signing in with NHS system.

For what its worth you can limit costs by checking in with Portland Midwife delivery for about £11k and then they limit the expenses of needing an epidural/section. You get a named consultant and their anaesthetists who is a consultant.

I saw the Portland as a better for me than the NHS because there was more control and guarantees. But with further research, some consider the Portland to be more about champagne than care. Can't comment any further on that.

I ended by at the Lindo with a top consultant for both the delivery and anaesthetist but the bills were horrendous. But there was nothing more important to me than guaranteeing the absolutely safety of my child. So we are missing a good few holidays and the old car stays on the driveway! smile

Hoping this helps.

nocoolnamesleft Fri 11-Mar-16 23:54:50

I'd sooner trust a NHS midwife than a private one - there's a lot more monitoring and oversight of their practice in the NHS.

LillyC Sat 12-Mar-16 12:22:05

Jammingjammingjamjam thank you so much for your comments, that really helps. Maybe I sounded to negative about nhs, I know it isn't always bad, it's just it's always a matter of luck. From a piece of mind point of view, it makes sense to have someone next to you willing to fight and try to seek help if anything goes wrong.

I will check the options available around private midwife

Janecc Sat 12-Mar-16 12:36:04

Hi I had a private midwife because of complications. I had ivf whilst living in Belgium, came back to the uk at 7 months pregnant. I had terrible pain and it was most prevalent in my back. I later ended up on painkillers and on crutches and the nhs wanted to plan a c section. I didnt want one.
All in all it was a difficult and scary time for me and the nhs midwife suggested using an independent midwife.
Maybe I'm wrong but the way I read it, you seem quite scared about the whole thing. I would say definitely pay for a midwife. Mine was amazing. She counselled me, gave me books to read, took me through processes to decrease my anxiety. I went from being scared of the pain to feeling like an earth mother and giving birth being a sort of right of passage.

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