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Your Right to Choose Your Midwife and Doctor

Pregnancy is one of the most expected but also challenging periods in the life of a woman. From the early weeks of pregnancy, they may expect health assistance as well as advice on how to take care of themselves and the unborn baby. When the delivery time arrives, it is so important to have a trusted person who will guide them through these painful and sometimes scary moments. Being cared for by the same midwife during pregnancy is the right of pregnant women, giving them safety and a feeling of trust. DO you have the right to choose your midwife and doctor?

I want to be cared for by the same midwife during my pregnancy

It's understandable that having the same midwife throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal care, which is called continuity of care, provides you with the expertise of the midwife you have chosen. You are also sure that the person knows your health results and is able to notice any differences in your behaviour or any worrying symptoms.

Meeting the same midwife for the following nine months gives you a sense of routine and safety. The aim is to prevent preterm births, the cases of losing babies in the early pregnancy months, or birth injuries.

The goal of NHS England and Improvement is to provide continuity of care for all women, especially those coming from minority ethnic backgrounds and those living in the most deprived areas.

If you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant, ask the Trust if you can receive continuity of care or when it’s planned to be introduced in your area. If their deadline is too late for you, try finding another Trust offering midwifery continuity care and offering it earlier.

Obstetrician, doctor, and midwife at the same time 

If you are worried that the care of the maternity specialist, an obstetrician, prevents you from using the care of a midwife and a doctor, you should know it’s not true. If you are eligible for the continuity of carer at your Trust, then even with the obstetrician care you can be cared for by one midwife and a doctor throughout the pregnancy.  

The Trust will try to ensure you meet the same doctor all the time, yet it’s not your legal right. It’s really comfortable and safe, mostly in the case of a long-term health condition. That will not only prevent you from explaining the condition of any doctor’s appointment, but it is also a safety measure for your doctor to detect any changes in your condition early.

Can I change my midwife or obstetrician? 

Maternity care provided by the NHS assumes the care of midwives, but in case of complications or worries about pregnancy, it;’s possible to consult an obstetrician. 

Any time you are not satisfied with the care of the midwife or the doctor, you can choose different ones, without even giving the reason for the change. 

It’s also possible to change your Trust and Board any time you need it. You can also decide where to give birth, even if the hospital is located far away from your place. Before changing the Trust, Board, or choosing the hospital, make sure if they can take care of you - that’s only possible when they don’t have the limit of people who can book with them.

Choosing the midwife and doctor for postnatal care

If you give birth in a different place than the Trust you belong to is located, it means your postnatal care may not be provided by the person who cared for you during pregnancy. It can also be provided in a clinic, rather than at home. 

You can also choose a private or an independent midwife, working outside the NHSm, which means you will have to pay for the care. Such a choice does not cancel your examinations provided by the NHS, which you are still entitled to.