At your first appointment with your midwife they will often ask where you want to be to birth your baby and how you want to feed your baby. While this might seem like early days for these discussions, it is well worth considering.
You have the option of ‘booking’ with a birthing centre (midwife led unit) a hospital (consultant led or shared unit) or to have your baby at home. You also have the right to change your mind at any time! you will be given a set of maternity records that you will keep with you in case you need to attend a different health care provider (if your on holiday for example) so its worth keeping these records with you. Some maternity professionals also use online records so its worth having the contact numbers available (often part of your handheld notes)
You may be referred to a specialist doctor (Obstetric consultant) because of existing or new health issues, they may refer you to other consultants with specialities such as Haematology or Diabetes to help them to plan your care. You may hear professional use the term ‘high risk’ which may mean you may have medical or pregnancy conditions that may impact your pregnancy. Whilst this term may sound scary it is important to discuss any of these issues and monitor them as needed as often it is just a term that means you are under doctor-led care. You may be offered extra scans or appointments so don’t be afraid to ask any questions that you may have.
If you do not have any medical or pregnancy complications (or by your choice) it is likely a midwife will provide your pregnancy care. Some midwives work as teams or you may just see one throughout. Most maternity care providers are trying to give continuity of care meaning that you will see the same midwife or few midwives in your pregnancy and after the birth.
You may opt to have private care (often called Independent Midwives) for your pregnancy. You can opt to solely see an Independent midwife to ensure you have continuity or as an extra support to your NHS care. An independent midwife can ensure your care is personalised to you and provide more time for appointments and home visits as well as being a support service.
A doula can also be an option for private maternity care. Doulas are practitioners with experience in supporting birth and can provide advice and support during pregnancy and birth.
While you may not have even thought about feeding options and by no means have to make a decision, midwives like to ensure you have all the information so you can make a decision that’s right for you and so you can be supported in your choice and with preparation.
It is well worth considering the health benefits of breast feeding not only for your baby but also for you Breastfeeding | Baby | Start4Life (www.nhs.uk)
A well informed happy Mum is important so whatever your choice, it needs to be what is right for you.
Practical tips for infant formula feeding can be found at Bottle feeding advice – NHS (www.nhs.uk)