Hi, after having complications post delivery of my second child and loss of mobility during the pregnancy and post pregnancy (I couldn't walk), I am considering getting extra support. Any view and recommendations on what I should go for? I'm not entirely sure what a doula would do and assume an IM (independent midwife) will mean having the same person available for all AN appts and the birth.
I'm not sure as to the answer for most of your qu, but I'm using 121 midwives instead of my community midwives (still paid for by the nhs) but my 121 midwife would not be allowed to deliver my baby in hospital, only at home. It's to do with insurances, policy and procedures. My midwife can come and be with me as a support person during the birth though.
I had an independent midwife and could not recommend it enough. I always saw the same person and she was available 24/7. I could book my appointments for later at night or the weekends so my husband could be there.
If you are able to I would definitely say get an independent midwife
Doula's are knowledgeable supports for pregnancy and birth. Some are trained in complimentary therapies like accupuncture or massage. Generally they get to know you and your family during your pregnancy. They accompany you during your labour be it at home or in hospital snd then also support you at home afterward with feeding/baby care. They do massage in labour help to keep you mobile, suggest coping strategies and relaxation. An independent midwife may offer similar but is also responsible for your medical care as well and they can perform the delivery which a doula cannot do. Usually they have back up in case they are sick or busy but you would have to talk to the midwife/ doula to find out how she works.
I had a doula with both my births and found the presence of another woman who was familiar with childbirth very comforting. MWs come and go from the room throughout labour and are often caring for several women at the same time, but a doula will stay with you, make sure you're properly fed and hydrated, help you get into a more comfortable position, help you to the loo, get medical help if you need it, help you to reach the right decisions if decisions are to be made while you're in labour (i.e. reminding you of your stated preferences and making sure you're comfortable with any interventions). A doula is a non-medical person though, so will not get involved in the actual birth - they are just a support person and more like a good, caring friend who is helping you along and also helping you to get the birth you want (if this is possible).
A MW is obviously a medical person who can deliver your baby and an independent one will be your main point of contact throughout pregnancy and present at the birth. As with the NHS you often see a range of difference MWs and don't get continuity of care an independent one can offer you that continuity, if that's important to you.