Career advice

Life as an independent midwife

The risks involved in being a self-employed midwife outweigh the rewards, according to those who have taken the plunge

For midwives who want to offer greater continuity in the care they provide, one option is to become an independent midwife. Being able to support a woman throughout pregnancy and birth is the main reason they choose to join this small band of professionals, believed to number fewer than 200 in the UK.

Jacqui Tomkins, chair of Independent Midwives UK (IMUK) and partner at the London Birth Practice, left the NHS 15 years ago because she found that she was not able to offer the kind of care she wanted to. ‘Continuity of care is important to me,’ says Ms Tomkins, who works with four other midwives at her practice. ‘I want to know the women I look after, build a relationship and see them through the entire pregnancy, birth and up to six weeks after. It’s like becoming a part of their family.’

Independent midwives are usually

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