Women have always assisted other women as they give birth. This is what the word midwife means (with woman). The word is a legally protected title which I am no longer entitled to use, having retired and removed myself from the Nursing and Midwifery Council Register. I have chosen to use the words Birth Friend to describe what I offer as it expresses the caring, calmness and continuity I can continue to offer women. By offering to be a known and trusted person accompanying women as they give birth, I aim to help them feel as calm and confident as possible before, through and after labour and birth.
Your clinical care will normally be provided by midwives and (if appropriate) doctors. You may decide to access NHS Maternity Services, Independent Midwifery Services or other care providers.
Who would need a Birth Friend?
- Anyone looking continuity of care support throughout their pregnancy birth and babymoon. You may be accessing midwifery support from NHS midwives or independent midwives. I can offer continuing support whoever leads your midwifery or obstetric care. I aim to work cooperatively with mothers. Their partners, and any midwives, doctors or other health care providers involved.
- Those wishing to explore the evidence around birth options and interventions fully in an informal but thorough way.
- Those seeking to review the events of a previous birth with an independent with years of midwifery experience, who can explain the contents of their Maternity Notes and help them navigate what has been recorded, whilst respecting their own lived experience of the birth events. This can be particularly helpful for anyone with residual concerns, sadness or more serious responses to previous events. You may also want to follow up with mental health care professionals, who I can signpost you to.
- Those seeking non-standard care options or choices that their usual care provider may find it challenging to support. Exploring the evidence about benefits and risks of birth interventions as well as the benefits and risks of declining these interventions can help women and their partners reach their own conclusions about how they wish to proceed and plan their care.
- Those seeking advocacy support who want to ensure their birth priorities are respected and facilitated by their care providers, including improving access to home birth services.
- Couples wishing to access individualised birth preparation or preparing for breastfeeding sessions.