What is a private midwife?

When it comes to your pregnancy there are a number of choices to consider – “what shall we call our baby?” and “should we find out the sex of our baby?” or even “what colour shall we paint the nursery?”. And when it comes to the actual medical care and support you can receive, there are other choices too – “should I choose a private midwife?”

In this article we take a look at what the difference is between a private and an NHS midwife, plus give you an idea of how much they charge and other key information.

What is a private midwife?

A private or independent midwife is someone who has decided they would prefer to work outside of the NHS and be self-employed.

You can choose for a private midwife to be present in a hospital birth, but they are more generally involved in home births for couples who want to choose that option.

If you do choose for a private midwife to accompany you to the hospital then they can only be involved as a ‘birth partner’ and do not get involved in the actual birthing procedure at all.

Private midwives are available across the UK, although in some more rural locations there may not be as many.

How much do they charge?

The amount a private midwife charges can vary, often due to factors such as whereabouts you live in the UK and also the level of help and care you require from them.

Costs can range from around £2,000 to £4,500, however some providers do allow people to pay in instalments, which can help you spread the cost rather than having to pay all in one go.

What sort of care do they provide?

Private midwives can provide a variety of care depending on what your personal requirements are. This can range from simply offering advice or being there to support you as a birthing partner, all the way through to being the main medical provider at the birth of your child.

Also you can choose to have them help and support you after you have given birth; if that is something you feel might be beneficial for you.

What qualifications do they have?

The qualifications that a private midwife needs to have are identical to that of an NHS midwife. The difference is that they are self-employed and you have to pay for the privilege.

Some private midwives specialise in specific birthing situations, such as caesarean or breech births.

Am I entitled to NHS care if I choose to use a private midwife?

The simple answer is ‘yes’. The Department of Health states that by choosing to use an independent midwife you are not opting out of access to an NHS midwife or other NHS pregnancy care.

Any antenatal tests required are still provided by the NHS, as are any other specialist requirements you might have.
At Ask The Midwife we have qualified midwives on hand to answer your questions on pregnancy and antenatal care. Download our app today and get the reassurance you need, when you need it.