October 21, 2021
Meet Our Members: Sarah Jones
I am a full-time practising midwife with expertise in Normal Childbirth. The childbirth process is not an illness but a normal biological passage that every mother will go through in some form or another. Helping and supporting the mother at every needed moment, the Midwife balances the Art with the Science.
I believe that a mother’s wellbeing and psychological health has a strong influence on the way a family functions and society as a whole. The way birth happens is important to women. The mother and her unborn child being physically and psychologically linked, one affecting the other. The Midwife being alert to this relationship, provides care to both, positively instilling confidence to the mother as she journeys through her pregnancy and birth.Sarah Jones
My Journey to Independent Practice
I have spent many years working within all areas of the maternity service: – from high-risk Consultant-led, to stand alone Midwife-led units, working within both hospital and community settings, managing teams and setting up services for women. This also included supporting women who chose to birth at home.
I always had the dream of being able to offer more bespoke packages of care to women and their families through independent practice. After my two children, who have since grown up and left home, I took some time out to explore Midwifery practice outside the NHS. My Independent journey began in 2018 where I was able to provide care to a mother who had chosen me as her named midwife for her pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. This was a unique one-off arrangement supported by my employer where I had the flexibility of working Independently as an autonomous practitioner but within the umbrella of the NHS through the Trust Bank. Sometime later, I attended IMUK’s ‘Making the move workshop’. This provided practical insight about the nuts and bolts of setting up a business, including all the equipment supplies, admin and legal practicalities.
I set up my Independent Practice in the April of 2019 and became a member of IMUK soon after. I found the new member mentorship scheme invaluable for just being able to talk through thought processes and ideas with experienced Midwives who have practised independently and successfully for many years. Knowing you are being listened to without judgement but with constructive encouragement, I found it to be one of the many advantages of being part of IMUK.
It is important to me that I continue to maintain links with the NHS and its practice/ protocol trends at the same time keep myself well informed about the surrounding research and evidence in order to advise mothers accordingly. I do provide birth care to mothers within the NHS on a part-time basis as well as having the flexibility to manage a small caseload through my independent practice. Until a birth insurance product becomes available, that solely supports self-employed midwives, I am unable to provide birth care as an Independent Midwife. IMUK are working hard to resolve this through our Aphrodite campaign which is not only aimed at Birth Insurance provision but also to provide funding for mothers who may not have the financial means to pay for an Independent Midwife. Achieving this will I believe provide true choice for women.
The Value of Time within Independent Midwifery Practice.
Simply put, More time to do the job properly and in a way that both the Mother and the Midwife agree it should be doneSarah Jones
I believe in the uniqueness of the Midwife Practitioner a professional friend who a mother can rely on as a trusted resource for help and advice not limited to timed scheduled appointments but as and when the need arises.
Time for Mum
Time to become more self-aware about the health of your developing baby and of course your own, time to prepare for the birth process itself and parenting your newborn. These are all essential processes requiring high levels of attention delivered by someone you can trust, in a comfortable environment without the pressures of time restrictions.
Time for the Midwife
Being an Independent Midwife gives me true autonomy which I believe to be at the very essence of being a Midwife. Independent Midwifery enables informed choice and decision making and therefore a feeling of control over any given situation. Processes and what to do in each situation are adapted and suited for each individual Mum who ultimately decides what she wants and what she doesn’t want, with the additional freedom to change as things evolve and develop. This is where the true skill of the Midwife the Art and the Science is fully utilised. Modern technology surveillance and alert systems are there to serve when required, as opposed to being the driver with the mother restricted to the ‘back seat’. Birth needs to be enabled and not inadvertently disabled.
Our policy led culture to manage risk, often conflicts with the holistic continuity of care, ‘with woman’ approach.
Infrastructure and culture within our NHS are designed to deliver evidence-based care that is cost-effective which means time is at a high premium. This has resulted in some areas, arguably birth preparation, early labour and postnatal care, having very little midwifery time if any at all. Recognising and helping to work through feelings, expectations, hopes and fears: – a mother’s mental health and wellbeing is another area of care where flexibility to be able to address, when the need arises and within an unrestricted time frame, is difficult to achieve. This is a consequence of having large organisations responsible for providing a myriad of other services which all compete alongside maternity care provision. Maternity services need to deliver care to large numbers of women with a wide range of needs, in the shortest period in order to keep up with increasing demand. This is no easy task for the modern-day hard-working Midwife within the NHS. Numerous ‘how to’ guidelines, policies, risk assessment tools and alert systems are all designed to help Midwives ‘keep up’ with the sheer complex demand and volume of work, at the same time trying to maintain high standards of care to keep mothers and babies safe. This inadvertently restricts a midwife’s freedom to think critically, analyse and adapt care to suit the mother and her unique birth process. Time is simply not available to really listen to and care for women and their families holistically and truly be with woman.
Practising as a Midwife outside the system provides time and space to think, adapt, apply and deliver woman-centred care suited to the mother and her needs, the system in its rightful place as a backup if and when required. I believe all women should have the right to choose their own care and more importantly, their own Midwife.
I am a full-time practising midwife with expertise in Normal Childbirth. The childbirth process is not an illness but a normal biological passage that every mother will go through in some form or another. Helping and supporting the mother at every needed moment, the Midwife balances the Art with the Science. I believe that a […]