Kathryn, one of our Northumbria midwives lets us know more about her role as part of International Day of the Midwife
My name is Kathryn and I am a midwife working in Hexham and the surrounding areas. I have been working within local GP surgeries to support and monitor pregnant patients for the last six years. I meet them at their initial appointment at about 8 weeks of pregnancy and support them throughout the pregnancy and postnatal period. I am also able to care for patients who labour and give birth to their babies in Hexham Maternity Unit or at home. As part of a new model of care we are starting this month, I will also be able to attend some of my patients’ births at NSECH such as people having planned caesarean sections
The thing I love most about midwifery is the relationship I am able to build with patients and their families over the course of their pregnancy and the first few weeks after birth. It is really rewarding to be able to support and encourage families through this momentous life event. I enjoy being able to give them reassurance and build their confidence in their ability to care for themselves and their babies. The new continuity model of care means I can be more flexible about when I see people and allows me to arrange their care to meet their individual needs, which is really exciting.
Hexham is a great place to work not least because it has such beautiful countryside to travel through to visit patients’ homes. I work in a team full of kind, wise and supportive colleagues and every day is different. Some days I will be doing more pregnancy checks and on other days I might have several home visits to see new families and babies in the first couple of weeks after birth. I also work in the Midwife Led Unit at Hexham, where I may be reviewing ultrasound scans or delivering a baby.
Midwives also play a role in promoting public health by supporting people to stop smoking and by administering vaccines such as flu and whooping cough, which keeps mums and babies safe.
This variety of work keeps the job interesting and challenging and within midwifery there are plenty of opportunities to specialise. We have midwives who specialise in caring for women with diabetes and midwives who support other midwives to develop their own practice as well as midwives who lead on national initiatives such as ‘Saving Babies Lives’.
Working as a midwife during COVID has been hard. We’ve had to adapt our appointments and schedule of care to keep patients and staff safe. At times we had to reduce the visiting options for people in hospital and have asked patients to attend most of their appointments alone if possible. I am pleased to see that restrictions are being lifted carefully and slowly so that the birth partners can return and experience the whole pregnancy journey too. Including the whole family in this amazing life event of pregnancy and birth is part of what makes midwifery special.