Shauna shares her experience of being cared for by the wonderful Valley Midwives. She tells us how the care helped deal with anxieties, needle phobia, mental health worries as well as some health concerns in the final few days of pregnancy.
Lina Duncan, an internationally trained Midwife and Doula shares with us her experiences of providing continuity to extremely vulnerable women during her 18 years of working in various parts of Asia
Ali qualified as a midwife in the US, where she had her first baby and experienced receiving and providing continuity of care, before moving to the UK where she had her 2nd baby and is now retraining as a midwife.
My story of post traumatic stress triggered after a difficult day on placement, the subsequent difficulty of accessing the right help and diagnosis and finally the profound impact of the continuity of support received as a student from a team of caseload midwives. How love, support and encouragement from likeminded midwives aided my healing and made me the midwife I am today.
This is a plea for those who have successfully implemented continuity of carer to get in touch. We have all the literature, government and health policy and union support to start continuity, but how exactly can we start something ourselves? I think inspiration would be helpful from those who have done this already to help others see how achievable it is.
This story is one that sadly I am sure echo the stories of many women, every day, around the world. One which this amazing woman has offered to share and whose voice I believe every single person who comes into contact with women during labour and birth needs to listen to. A woman who believes that continuity of carer would have made a difference to her experience. You only have to look up the #metoointhebirthroom hashtag on Twitter to have a glimpse into the unacceptable treatment women are experiencing, but these stories only just scratch the surface.
It is a woman’s human right to make choices about her care (NMC, 2015, Birthrights, 2013) and women must be provided with the information they need to make an informed choice (NMC, 2009), including discussing risks and benefits of the options available to women, which is both the legal and professional responsibility of midwives and obstetricians (The Supreme Court, 2015). It is important to be aware that the way in which risk is discussed can exaggerate risks (Van Wagner, 2016) and that lack of adequate time and follow up when discussing risks with women during pregnancy can direct care towards interventions (Van Wagner, 2016). The provision of relational continuity can counteract this and is shown to improve outcomes for women with perceived risk factors (Sandall et al 2016).