Tag Archives: choices

Haven’t you heard? Independent Midwives are still alive and kicking!

Haven’t you heard? Independent Midwives are still alive and kicking!

I initially wrote this in 2015 to clear up the misinformation being given to women who were seeking care from an Independent Midwife. A lot has changed since then, but we’re still here.

You may or may not know who Independent Midwives are. You may not have heard about our struggle to keep practising over the past few years. Well, I’m here to tell you that Independent midwives are still here – we made it!

I was dismayed recently to hear a couple of women report that they’d been told that Independent Midwives had ceased to be able to practice. One had been told by an NHS radiographer that he was glad she was not booked with an Independent Midwife. Another was told by an obstetrician that independent midwives have no insurance, and that if you try to sue them you cant, because they put their houses in someone else’s name! Luckily both of these women were able to update the knowledge of these health professionals. So for clarity I have decided to give you the facts.

When I first became an Independent Midwife in 2005 there was no professional indemnity Insurance (PII) available to Independent midwives, and we had to inform women of this before we booked them. What this meant that women were given this information when they enquired with us, given it in writing at consultation, and signed to say they understood that we had no PII at their booking appointment. The implications of this were that women could sue us personally if they wanted to. Our professional relationships were built on trust, and lots of women were cared for under this arrangement. I personally cared for 2 lawyers and one hospital consultant under this arrangement.

We were informed that PII would become compulsory for all registered midwives just a few years later due to a European directive being implemented.

To cut a very long and painful battle short, The Independent Midwives Association (IMA) split and became Independent Midwives UK (IMUK) and some formed Neighbourhood Midwives. When the deadline came in 2014 we had fulfilled all requirements, and against the odds we remained able to practice. Which we did so happily until 2017 when our governing body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), decided our insurance was inadequate.

The only way forwards from there was come under insurance held my companies such as Private Midwives or One to One. This of course has increased our insurance premiums and therefore the cost to our clients.

Despite all these hurdles brave midwives still care for women outside of the confines of the NHS, and brave families somehow find a way to pay.

So Independent Midwives are very much still alive and kicking. And if you hear any more misinformation about Independent Midwives, please point them in the direction of this blog.

“They tried to bury us.215342_10150215211604188_558064187_8611292_3793723_n They did not know that we were seeds.” (Mexican proverb)

Microbirth Premier film screening in Glastonbury

The Premier screening of Toni Harman’s new film will be shown globally on 20th September 2014.
Following the successful screening of her previous film “Freedom for Birth” last year, I am pleased to be able to share her new film in Glastonbury.

“Microbirth” is a new feature-length documentary looking at birth in a whole new way; through the lens of a microscope. Investigating the latest scientific research, the film reveals how we give birth impacts the lifelong health of our children and potentially could even affect the future of humanity.

View a trailer here: http://microbirth.com

Recent population studies have shown babies born by Caesarean have approximately a 20% increased risk of developing asthma, 20% increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes, a similar risk with obesity and slightly smaller increases in gastro-intestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. All of these conditions are linked to the immune system.

“Microbirth” explores several possible plausible explanations. One hypothesis is that if normal vaginal birth is interfered with or bypassed completely because of Caesarean birth, this could alter the “seeding of the baby’s microbiome”, the critical transfer of bacteria from mother to baby at birth. Scientists suggest this could lead to the baby’s immune system not developing to its full potential. Another hypothesis is the actual process of vaginal birth, including the cocktail of hormones produced during labour, could profoundly affect the baby’s immune regulation and metabolism.

The film’s co-director Toni Harman says, “Caesarean Sections are essential and often are life-saving. However, up until now, no-one has really looked into the long-term impact. This emerging research is painting an alarming picture in terms of future health across populations. There may even be repercussions for the future of humanity. And yet, up until now, I don’t hear any alarm bells ringing.”

Join us on 20th September 2014

In Glastonbury Town Hall , Magdalene street, Glastonbury, BA6 9EL

From  7pm to 9pm for the film premier, followed by after film discussion.

Tickets £5. All proceeds will be donated to Towards tomorrow Together  Registered charity number 1151022.

Parking close by. Disabled access. Refreshments available.

Contact me for further details on 0799247462 or email joy@birthjoy.co.uk


Radical Midwifery on the Road

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????According to the Association of Radical Midwives (ARM)  “In the mid 70s, the majority of pregnant women in UK had labour induced by artificial rupture of membranes (ARM) around the date they were “due”. These initials were used when the group needed a name, using the dictionary definition of “radical”, (roots, origins, basics, etc.) which aptly described the basic midwifery skills which they hoped to revive.”

In this spirit I offer a grass roots midwifery information service to women. I am an Independent Midwife, and as such I provide total midwifery care for women and their families, but the numbers I care for are small, and every woman needs good information. I’ve always served women by giving free information by telephone, and running a local ARM group, but again the numbers are limited, and so is my time. But I feel a huge need to pass on my knowledge of maternity rights and choices to women who may not even know that they have a choice.

Am I saying that the NHS is not giving women enough information or choice? No.

Am I saying women are unable to find out this information for themselves?  Certainly not.

Pregnant women just don’t know what they don’t know. First – time mums may, or may not have read widely, they may, or may not have a relationship with a known NHS midwife, and the midwife may be too short of time, experience or knowledge herself to be able to help each individual.  Without adequate information about choices in pregnancy the woman may feel she has no choice, and if things don’t go to plan, she may feel things were done to her without her fully informed consent. Feeling disempowered or not understanding why things were done to you in childbirth, can contribute to postnatal depression. After a poor experience women often look for further information and support to prevent the same happening in subsequent pregnancies.

2541987300_7cf0e2543a_mAs an Independent midwife many of my clients come seeking truly unbiased midwifery information, so they can feel empowered in their current pregnancy. Some have suffered previous birth trauma and wish to avoid similar happening again. But why wait until the second or subsequent pregnancy to get a positive birth experience? The first experience of birth is likely to be the most challenging, so it is important that we as midwives know how to serve you best. Unless you tell us what would help, or hinder you in labour, we will not know. Unless you know your rights and the choices available to you, you will not be able to instruct us in providing the right kind of care for you.

This is where writing birth preferences comes in useful. As an NHS midwife I would meet someone (often for the first time) in labour, and have to discuss all the pros and cons of different birth choices. I  don’t mind explaining at all, but Labour is not the right time to be engaging the thinking part of a woman’s brain!

  • Educate yourselves, know your rights and choices before labour starts.
  • Write your birth preferences down. Discuss them with your birth supporters before labour, and share them with your midwife when labour is underway.
  • If you don’t know why a course of treatment or an intervention is being suggested then please ask.
  • If you don’t understand or don’t like the answer then ask someone else.

The Association for the Improvement in Maternity Services (AIMS) are a great resource for anyone having difficulty getting support for their birth choices. AIMS have a booklet entitled “Am I Allowed?” and all over it’s cover it has the word YES. Nothing can be done to you without your informed consent. If it has not been explained to you fully, you cannot make an informed choice. Please buy this book if nothing else (order from website, under “publications”).

Read also Mary Cronk’s assertiveness phrases and practice them in front of a mirror.

Birth Rights is a new organisation founded by a human rights lawyer. The website contains useful fact sheets on rights in childbirth.

The birth bus
The birth bus

 

If you live local to me then find out when I am next holding a midwifery clinic in my Birth Bus (campervan). I park at various locations locally, to give information and answer queries about rights and choices. Just text or email me for dates and venues. These do vary according to my midwifery caseload.

Remember that knowledge is power, and you don’t know what you don’t know- BUT you can always find out and ask WHY?