Charlie, one of our Northumbria midwives lets us know more about her role as part of International Day of the Midwife
The role of the Midwife is varied and challenging and usually has a very happy end result. In the UK registered Midwives are qualified to look after a woman from just after conception until 28 days post delivery of the baby. Although Midwives work with a huge range of other health professionals, when it comes to low risk care, Midwives are the experts. We give individualised care to a woman and her family all through the antenatal period, will deliver her baby, and then help afterwards as everyone adjusts to a new life.
A mother and her partner can choose where they want to have their baby and this can be either at home, in a Midwife Led Unit (MLU) or in an Obstetric unit. Their choice is guided by an assessment of risk of delivering in any of those places as safety of mother and baby is of course paramount.
I work in Hexham in the MLU located in the hospital. For the last eight years, my primary role has been working in the community attached to a GP practice and looking after the families that are registered with them. I have a caseload of women that I see throughout pregnancy and then have a responsibility to deliver the women that come to Hexham to have their baby. Of course, babies have their own time of arrival so I might come to work and walk straight into a delivery or be called out at night to look after someone at home.
Working directly with the women is the most fulfilling part of my job. It is a real privilege to meet and be involved with a family at such an important time in their life. The rich variety of personalities and diverse life experiences of individuals is endlessly fascinating and no two days are ever the same. I’ve learnt so much from the women who have graciously shared their stories, fears, expectations and futures with me. It’s a humbling and life affirming job.
It is exciting to see where Midwifery is going in the future. We have some excellent newly trained young Midwives employed within the Trust just bursting with enthusiasm and ideas to push the profession forward. With safety of families as the key goal of care, the future looks set to be about providing greater continuity of carer during pregnancy, birth and in the first few weeks at home. Research has shown that this provides safer health outcomes, increased satisfaction for the woman and a better work/life balance for the Midwife team. Having a baby is one of the biggest changes that occurs in the life of a family. Being part of a team that makes it safe, fulfilling, women centred and lots of fun means that there is no other job for me!