MEET NICKY GRACEAn independent midwife giving personalised care
I had my first child, Tom, in 1986 and somewhat against the odds for a young woman in those days managed to arrange a home birth. This was the start of my travels in the world of birth that is still ongoing today. I began my midwifery training in 1997, qualifying in 2000, always juggling family life and work in order to fulfil my vocation as a midwife. Initially I worked within the NHS in both hospital and community settings, but in 2006 took the decision to set up as an independent midwife. I’m passionate about continuity of midwifery care throughout pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period and working independently helped me to gain valuable experience throughout the entire pregnancy and birth spectrum.
I’ve been privileged to attend many wonderful births during my time as a midwife, and I love helping women and their partners to prepare for birth. You may well be able to do your own research using the internet and reading lots of articles and books, but that could lead to information overload. Maybe my years of experience and seeing what works and what doesn’t work in practice, can help you to decide what choices to make that are right for you. Birth is a hugely significant time in every woman’s life, and also has a big impact on partners.
Although I am passionate about women having physiological births where possible, I also have a great interest in the academic aspects of midwifery and have been very involved with research over the years. I gained a Masters in Research Methods (Health) in 2011, and alongside my independent midwifery, have been actively involved with research within the NHS ever since. I have worked on studies including into delayed cord clamping for preterm birth and induction of labour for older mothers, among many others. I see no contradiction in wanting to support normal birth wherever possible, while acknowledging the importance of research evidence to help women to make informed decisions, and advancing medical practice to save lives.
Choosing me to be part of your birth preparation team will mean having a midwife to walk alongside you, rooting for you and helping you to have the best possible birth, whatever your circumstances.
In some ways it’s harder for you today than it was for me planning a birth in 1986. In those days we didn’t have practitioners who were overly worried about litigation, and we didn’t have the NICE guidelines and we certainly didn’t have Google! While these are in theory supposed to make it easier to make decisions, in practice they can make it even more confusing for you to properly prepare for birth as you get bombarded with information – including a lot of negativity – from all sides. I can guide you to understand the research evidence, and create birth plans that help to reduce fears and anxieties and gain confidence in your ability to give birth. After all, your body is designed to do this.
You want a natural undisturbed birth and you want to plan for this
You know that childbirth can be unpredictable, so you want to make contingency plans
You would like help to make sure you feel in control of decision-making whatever happens
You want to feel that an experienced midwife is actively on your side, assisting you in mind, body and spirit