Top 10 questions you want to ask about your midwife

Clare @mumsymidwife

👶 Midwife & Blogger
🤰Talking all things pregnancy & parenting
Mum to Isabelle
Lover of coconut mushrooms & cherry bakewells 🍒

When you’re pregnant, there are so many things you want to know about your midwife. We are commonly seen as the motherly, all hallowed being; knowledgeable and possibly from a convent (if you like to watch a bit of Call the Midwife). But the truth is we are an eclectic bunch – and definitely not Nun-material these days. Here are a few questions you might have that I can answer, and maybe some questions that you didn’t know you wanted to ask.

What’s the difference between a community midwife and hospital midwife?

Community midwives are always linked to a hospital, but they specifically work in doctor’s surgeries or children’s centres providing antenatal (during pregnancy) care. After your baby is born, a community midwife will usually visit you at home a few times to make sure you’re healing and your baby is well. They would also attend a homebirth, when required.

The difference between the two is very small. Most community midwives work on Labour Wards or the birthing centres on a regular basis, but hospital midwives tend to concentrate on working on the antenatal ward, postnatal ward, labour ward and in the outpatient clinics with consultants. They may all rotate around every few months so all midwives can work in each field.

Will I be able to see the same midwife each time?

In a perfect world, yes. Most community midwives are linked to a specific GP surgery or area to concentrate on the women who need them. However, with the NHS being chronically understaffed, it may be that midwives fill in at the antenatal appointments during periods of annual leave or to cover sickness. Most, if not all, community midwives strive for continuity of carer, so if you can see the same one each time, you will.

How can I make the most of my appointments with my midwife?

Appointments are very compact and are usually only 15 minutes long. In this time, the midwife will do observations on you and your baby to make sure all is well. If you have any questions or concerns, it is best to write them down and bring them with you – they will always be willing to answer anything you want to know. Always attend with a urine sample ready for them to test to maximise the time you have available.

How can my partner get involved in my midwife appointments?

Partners are always welcome (Covid excluding – see below), and are included as much as possible, however the purpose of these appointments are for you and baby, so those checks will take priority. If your partner has any questions, encourage them to bring them along, and ask if you can record the baby’s heartbeat on your phone if it is audible and the midwife is happy for you to do so.

What pain relief can my midwife give me in labour?

In labour, a midwife can offer you the birthing pool, TENS (if the unit has kits available), Gas and Air, and a pain relieving injection. If you wanted to have an epidural, she would need to arrange for an anaesthetist to do this for you. (These may be different if your health, or baby’s health, has additional considerations)

Will my midwife in the community be the same as the one when I give birth?

Probably not, I’m afraid. Usually they aren’t in the labour suite or birthing unit for your birth. If you have a homebirth, it may be her as she will have an on call rota to attend along with the other community midwives.

When does the midwife come to see my baby after they’re born?

The midwife will try and come to see you when your baby is 5 days old and around 10 days. There may be a couple of extra visits woven around these depending on you and your baby. A healthcare assistant may also visit to weigh your baby.

When should I ask my midwife about my birth plan?

Around 34-36 weeks, you will see your midwife. Let her know at the appointment before if you would like to discuss your birth plan so she can be sure to have enough time to help. Look on the NHS websites and other parenting websites for templates and things for you to think about.

What happens with my midwife during Covid-19?

Well, what an unprecedented time. As it stands, everything is still very up in the air. As such, certain appointments will be held via phone or video call, and others in specific centres which may not be your normal GP surgery. If you are confused or don’t know where to go, you can call your midwife (they usually provide a contact number) or the community midwives office at the local hospital. Many units are only allowing one person in for scans, which is disappointing for partners, but many are offering free photos to help them see their baby, too. Check on your letters for instructions.

What’s a midwife’s superpower?

Their sixth sense. Midwives have a keen instinct and often follow it. Sometimes, it’s just a hunch that you are progressing quickly in labour, or that there is a problem they want to get investigated at your midwife antenatal appointment. Many times I’ve followed my gut to find it was bang on the money.

Has this answered any of your burning questions? Remember that midwives always have your best interests in mind and will gladly help wherever possible to make your pregnancy, birth and post labour recovery as easy as possible.