What is an independent midwife?

Independent midwife Bristol

Independent Midwives are fully qualified midwives who, in order to practise the midwife's role to its fullest extent, have chosen to work outside the NHS in a self employed capacity, although we support its aims and ideals. The midwife's role encompasses the care of women during pregnancy, birth and afterwards.

All independent midwives must adhere to the Midwives' Rules which are enshrined in the 1902 Midwives Act of Parliament and subsequent amendments. All independent midwives are subject to yearly supervisory visits and equipment checks and must notify their NHS appointed Supervisor of Midwives of their "Intention to Practise" each April. In line with the requirements of our regulatory body, the NMC, we are required to ensure that our clinical practice is up to date and that our actions are within our sphere of competence.

Before I moved to Bristol I worked for the NHS; caring for a caseload of women in a practice that had a very high homebirth rate (15 times the national average) in the NHS. However when I moved here, there was no local set up in the NHS that would enable me to continue to practise that way. I became an Independent Midwife so I could continue to offer individualised, woman centred care to a small number of women each year. This way of working has been proved time and time again to improve women's experience of labour and birth and motherhood and to lead to more normal births.* As an Independent Midwife, I can be a midwife to the fullest extent of the role and give continual and full support to the women I look after.

* sandal et al 2001