A good friend of mine is newly pregnant and anticipates being in London long term, hopefully starting this winter. She's interested in midwifery care and natural childbirth and is currently in Pennsylvania, US. Any tips or recommendations that I can send along to her for birthing and finding a midwife in London? She will be in Camden if that means anything.
Well if she has NHS care she wont get to chose her midwife, they get assigned on the day of labour. She will have a community midwife for her pregnancy visits who may be available on the day (pot luck as to who is on call) - she may have a different midwife for each visit, it does seem to depend on staffing levels and areas.
If she has an independent midwife http://www.independentmidwives.org.uk/?node=722 she will be able to guarantee the same midwife during her pregnancy and labour but they cost £3-£6,0000.
Having worked as a doula in the US and now in the UK, although she won't necessarily be seeing the same midwife antenatally and will see a different midwife (or two) intrapartum, compared to much of the OB/Gyn care in the US, she will have far more say in her care.
If she starts at www.birthchoiceuk.com she will be able to see the stats for the various hospitals in her area (Camden). She can then choose which hospital, or birth center she'd like to use and go from there with regard finding out who the linked midwifery teams are. She can also request a home birth with a community midwife. Some PCT's are more open to home births than others, so she may need to "fight" her corner, but if none of the local hospitals give her the autonomy she'd like, then it will be an independent midwife. That's it in simplistic terms. She could also contact the NCT in her local area, they'd advise her on her options and she'd also meet mamas who might be in similar situations. www.nctpregnancyandbabycare.com.