Student midwife blog, July 2014
For the past few weeks I have been on placement in the community, helping to run antenatal and postnatal clinics.
This is a side to midwifery that I’ve never experienced before. Seeing women at all different stages of pregnancy has really made me realize how much there is to learn.
Every stage is different and the questions and symptoms that women come into their appointments with vary greatly.
Women are offered appointments at set points during pregnancy, and can have further ad-hoc appointments if necessary. At each appointment there are different topics that need to be covered that relate to that particular stage.
For example, when women reach around 28 weeks, we begin talking to them about their birth plan and where they would like to have their baby.
At the moment, this is the thing I’m finding most difficult. Going from an appointment with a woman at 16 weeks to an appointment with someone who is going to be giving birth within the next few weeks means having to call to mind all the relevant information for the next woman very quickly.
There is also a huge amount of paperwork that needs to be done throughout the day, much more so than at the Birth Centre or Labour ward.
Being able to complete the needed forms whilst conversing with the woman and giving her the time she needs but also making sure you don’t run over and keep the next woman waiting is a skill I am having to develop pretty quickly.
That said, I can see how great it would be as a midwife to be able to see the same women throughout their pregnancies.
For me, the best part of the job is the people you meet and the connections you make with them, and community midwives are in possibly the best position to develop good relationships with the women they care for over time.
After women have their babies, they are visited at home by the community midwives and can also have appointments at the postnatal clinic.
During these appointments, we ask them lots of questions about how they are doing, check their wounds and sutures for signs of infection, and weigh and examine their babies.
At this point their babies are only a few days old, and parents often come in with a list of questions and concerns that they are very anxious to have answered.
I really enjoy postnatal appointments. Supporting people when they have been discharged from Hospital and are starting their lives as parents is really lovely.
For the next few weeks I’ll be on my summer break, but will be spending most of my time revising for my anatomy and physiology exam at the end of August!