Most SECMs (Self Employed Community Midwives) will visit you in your own home. This is a major advantage for mothers who already have children as they don’t have to take them to busy maternity units with them. Some community midwifery visits will also take place in your home. Visits last around one hour giving lots of opportunity to get to know each other, discuss birth plans and ask questions. Your husband/partner and other children can be present and involved in the new baby’s progress.
Continuity of care from a known and trusted midwife (midwives if in a joint/group practice), who will be with you throughout your labour and birth. Access to all your medical records taken during pregnancy, birth and postnatally.
A choice of whether to opt in or out of high technology ante-natal screenings such as ultrasound scans.
The midwife is a trusted health professional available to you by telephone at all times.
Labour and Birth
Freedom to move around, to adopt a variety of positions (squatting, standing, on all fours etc.), to make noises during labour and birth.
Freedom to explore a variety of ways of handling pain; e.g. water birth pools or the bath; walking in the garden; massage; music; aromatherapy oils; reflexology; homoeopathy; acupuncture; etc.
Giving birth in familiar surroundings and being uninhibited by hospital atmosphere (which can slow labour down).
Freedom to invite whoever you choose to be present, including your children.
Neither you nor your midwife being disturbed by the needs of other labouring women.
No rigid time limits on birth progress.
Neither you nor your labour is managed.
Your medical attendants being guests in your home (which is likely to influence how you are treated).
Very few routine medical interventions, i.e. amniotomy (breaking the waters); electronic foetal monitoring during labour, syntometrine (routinely given in hospital to speed delivery of placenta and contract uterus); episiotomies (cuts made in the birth canal to speed delivery).
No routine procedures on the newborn such as suctioning or vitamin K jabs - weighing, measuring and other checks all done later in your presence.
All of the above tend to lead to fewer complications in childbirth for both mother and baby i.e. less foetal distress diagnosed; fewer babies needing resuscitation; fewer low Apgar scores at 1 minute (a check on the baby’s well-being); less incidence of post-partum hemorrhage in the mother.
Post Natal Care
You or your partner and other family members will be able to stay together with your baby.
You will be available to your other small children and so avoid the upset which can result from separation if the mother is in hospital for a few days.
You and your baby will not have to make any traumatic adjustment from hospital to home life.
You will be free from the noise, restrictions routine and potential infection risks of hospital.
You will be free to breastfeed whenever you and your baby want and you will have information and support on breastfeeding from your midwife.
All post-natal visits are done in the privacy of your own home i.e. Paediatric checks and six week checks of mother and infant. Most midwives will stagger visits over a period of two weeks after the birth.
Regular postnatal visits give you important support in the early days.