All our packages include an initial free consultation. This appointment can be arranged to take place over Zoom, in your own home, at your place of work, or in a local café or pub, wherever suits you.
We aim to spend about an hour with you and your partner discussing your individual circumstances, what you are hoping to achieve by having a private midwife as part of your pregnancy journey, what our packages offer you, and how we work collaboratively with you and within the NHS system.
This is our opportunity to get to know each other, for you to ask any questions, and for us to see if we all feel we are a good fit for one another.
All our packages offer you phone, WhatsApp and email support throughout the duration of your care. We will be available to you 24/7 for emergency support by phone, or for non-emergency information and advice by message or email and will get back to you as soon as possible. As part of our service we set up a WhatsApp group chat with you, your birthing partner/s and ourselves.
Once you have decided a private midwife is right for you and you book a care package, either Tess or Leonie will be allocated to be your dedicated midwife, who will take the lead for your care and be the primary midwife to attend you in labour and birth. You will have the opportunity to meet the other one of us at various points in your pregnancy, and we will both be part of your WhatsApp group, this way you will build a supportive and trusting relationship with them both. During the antenatal period your midwife will care for you in the relaxing environment of your own home.
Your care includes:
Monitoring the progress of your pregnancy, ensuring you are cared for safely, professionally and with kindness.
Looking after your physical and emotional wellbeing, ensuring all clinical care is undertaken diligently by closely monitoring your blood pressure and undertaking urinalysis.
Monitoring the wellbeing of your baby by measuring their size to ensure they are growing well and in accordance with personalised guidelines, palpating (feeling your abdomen) to determine the position your baby is lying in, listening to your baby’s heart rate using a pinard and soinicade (gold standard of care), and discussing and explaining all the findings and advising you appropriately.
The National guidelines, recommendations and screening tests will all be discussed – what this means for you and why they are recommended. Also sign posting you to the evidence surrounding these recommendations, so you can make an informed choice about your care.
As we are there for you as an individual and not as a number in the system, we both have plenty of time to spend with you exploring any questions, concerns or general conversations you may wish to have. If there is something we don’t know or are unsure of (contrary to popular belief we don’t know everything!), we will spend time finding the answer for you, researching the evidence, or if it falls outside the sphere of normal midwifery care, we will put you in touch with other professionals who may have a deeper expertise in the subject you need information about.
Of course, we would like to think your pregnancy will progress smoothly and without a hitch, but part of a midwife’s role is to observe, advise and act if things deviate from normal. One of the things we do really well behind the scenes, is to work cooperatively with the NHS system. We can act on your behalf to liaise with Community Midwives, escalate to the senior management or Obstetric teams. We can chase up screening results, ensure you speak with the appropriate people for your care needs and work to get individualised care plans implemented for your specific circumstances.
We both have excellent links with all the local NHS Trusts (hospitals) and not only are we able to refer you if necessary, we can also *attend these appointments with you, where reasonably possible (and if you want us to) *Covid permitting.
It is ideal to book with a local NHS Trust or a Trust of your choice (we can help with this) in case there is the need for additional clinical support. This is of course your choice to make.
Your named midwife will be on call for your labour and birth once your pregnancy reaches “term” – this means from 37 weeks to 42 weeks, although if baby comes earlier or later, we will still endeavour to be available to support you.
Once you are in labour, your midwife will remain in close contact with you and your birth partner throughout, offering you practical tips, advice and reassurance, reminding you of all the things you can do to feel more comfortable and in control while you are at home, and helping your birth partner to help you feel loved, supported and safe.
You will be confident in yourselves and each other, and when you feel it is the right time for you, your midwife will attend.
This is personal to everyone; some people choose to have their midwife come to their home to support and assess the labour progress; some do this early, some wait until the very last minute to call, and others choose to meet at their preferred birthing location.
By this point in your care, you will know and trust your midwife, and they will know and trust you. Someone will always come to you when you ask.
Once you are in established labour, your named midwife will stay with you until your baby is born, supporting your birth choices and respecting your birth plan. In some circumstance if your birth is particularly long or your midwife has been awake for a long time, your second midwife may come and take over for some of the labour and possibly the birth (even midwives need to sleep and eat).
Your labour and birth are YOURS and yours alone. Both Leonie and Tess know and recognise when to sit back and watch as you rock your birth, and know when to pull out the pom poms and give you extra support.
Your midwife can help your birth partner to keep you in your zone and can take over if they need a break (everyone needs to use the loo!).
If you have decided on a hospital birth, we can advise you on a good time to transfer in and will liaise with the Trust to make the transfer as smooth as possible. Once in hospital we will continue to be your birth champion and advocate to ensure your birth wishes are understood, and that you are respected, informed, and kept at the centre of your care throughout.
Part of a Private Midwives skill is to offer you a translation service, so you are aware and fully informed of any suggestions or recommendations made; medical professionals have their own language and sometimes we forget not everyone speaks it!
If you have chosen to birth at home, your named midwife will attend to you when you are ready for her, she will monitor you and your baby’s health and wellbeing throughout, keeping you safe and well cared for, and will call for a second midwife for the birth, and then once baby has been born stay with you for 2-3 hours following.
For all birth locations, once your baby is born, we stay with you until your baby has had their first feed and you are settled.
Once all the excitement and planning for baby’s arrival is over and baby has arrived, we will continue to provide you with support as you transition into your new family unit.
We offer you four visits in the first week. This ensures you receive intensive support as you come to grips with your new and shiny little human.
Not only do we spend time making sure you and your baby are clinically well and recovering from the birth, but we also support you with feeding, sleeping, nappy changing, skin care and cord care. We talk to you about the importance of skin-to-skin, protecting your space, and any things you should be looking out for, for example jaundice, bleeding, infection, and so on.
We will listen and advise you with any concerns or questions you may have – you will have some, AND you will tell us that they are daft questions – but they NEVER are.
We will talk about the birth with you and explore how you feel about this.
If your package includes labour and birth care we can provide you, in your own home, with the NIPE (Newborn and infant physical examination (NIPE) screening programme handbook – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)) , and, for all postnatal packages, the new born blood spot screening, on day 5 (Newborn blood spot test – NHS (www.nhs.uk)).
At the Day 5 visit we recommend the baby is weighed and we will offer you the newborn blood spot screening test. If necessary, we can help you with a feeding plan and monitor its effectiveness closely. We have excellent links with lactation consultants and tongue tie practitioners, should this be required.
Then, if all is well, we will see you for three visits in the second week, usually every other day. Don’t worry, we will always be at the end of the phone for a call or a message if you have any questions.
For weeks 3 and 4 the visits get a little less frequent, as by this point, we are trying to wean ourselves off of you. We usually find that by the time we come to the end of our care with you, you are far too busy to fit us in!
Private Midwives in South London