Neighbourhood Midwives

Your Experience

Considering the many options available to you as you enter into the wonderful world of pregnancy, birth & of course babies, is understandably daunting. As midwives, we are very aware that each woman’s needs are different to the next and why we have ensured that our service has the flexibility to be tailored to each individual’s needs. We also know it is important to be reassured by other people’s experiences and here we have tried to give you a flavour of our service through the eyes of some of our previous clients.

If you are interested in speaking directly to someone who has already had the support of one of our dedicated midwives, please just let us know.

Thank you to our wonderful Midwife Rene for the second time...

Thank you to our wonderful Midwife Rene for the second time (and maybe not the last). We truly couldn’t have done this without you. 

Though both births were very different I remained calm and confident,  I knew you were there every step of the way. You were a fabulous support system and you always cheered me on even when I thought I wanted to give up. I still laugh that Amelia was born to the song “more than a woman” by the Begees lol 

My aftercare was also amazing your like part of our family now. Thankfully Amelia was a breeze to feed unlike Ronán! Thank you for your wisdom, guidance and also that huge shoulder for me to have a cry on! Thanks for sharing the laughs too. You're more than a Midwife to us your more like a fairy godmother. Thank you so so much.

Tina was on hand throughout my pregnancy

From the moment we met with the Neighbourhood Midwives team we knew we had made the right decision! Being first time parents we were very apprehensive and found there was so much information given to us it was difficult to know where to start and what to take on board. After one session with our appointed midwife Tina we felt 100 times more confident about the entire thing particularly the labour! Even my partner couldn't believe how much we got from our first meeting!

Tina was on hand throughout my pregnancy 24 hours a day and no question was a problem day or night! I am normally a very stressy person but given the fantastic advice I received I was surprisingly calm in the initial stages of labour by simply following all of the tips I had from our sessions and despite some complications my labour went well!

My beautiful baby boy was born on the 27th of August and once again The Neighbourhood Midwives team were on hand to provide the best aftercare I could dream of! They quickly identified my son had a tongue tie which was not identified at the hospital and this meant we were able to seek treatment as quickly a possible! The hands on breastfeeding support was also crucial to me sticking with it and being confident with lots of different techniques! 

My visits were all at home which meant not travelling to and from the hospital and myself and baby were comfortable and had as much time we needed in every session! 

The service that the Neighbourhood Midwives team provide is absolutely outstanding and I would have no hesitation in recommending them to others or using their services again! 

We wanted to try to have our first baby at home

We knew we wanted to try to have our first baby at home from quite early on and also believed that really getting to know and trust our midwives would be important for us. And so, having had good care from the NHS but having always seen different midwives (some of whom weren't that supportive of home birth), we got in touch with Rene and Neighbourhood Midwives. 

We are so glad we did! Rene and Rachel's advice and care turned my initial fears about pregnancy and birth into excitement and positivity. They took the time to get to know me and my husband, and to discuss all of our thoughts and questions (including questions that must have seemed slightly ridiculous!). 

Despite being caught a bit off guard by baby's early arrival, we were lucky to have the calm, natural home birth we wanted, and couldn't have done that without Rene and Rachel. The post natal care was also fantastic, and helped us carry that positivity and confidence from the birth through to our daughter's first few weeks and months. We're very grateful that we can look back on the whole experience with such joy and positivity

"As a father I felt Rene helped me to be involved in the birth"

Rene was our midwife for our third child and she was magnificent. During the pregnancy she established a rapport with my wife Becca which allowed Becca the space to express her desires for the birth and the type of care she wanted. The visits pre-birth covered all the main points that I as a father to be needed to know, but had most likely forgotten from no 2. Throughout pregnancy Renes vists were always a pleasure, building up our confidence in her ability, as she listened to any concerns and address them. During the birth Rene was exceptional; calm and reassuring, supportive and encouraging; she was in control without dominating and helped Becca to have a natural delivery at home in the pool. As a father I felt Rene helped me to be involved in the birth and has given both me and Becca great memories that will last forever.

While at home Sharon was always on hand...

I had a unique experience as I had an independent midwife up until 3 weeks before I was due to give birth, Then her insurance got cut and I was left without any midwife! This was very scary being a first time mum to be, I had always wanted a home birth and I thought this experience was going to be taken from me.

After doing some online research I had a few options, go into hospital, a community midwife at home, but with shift work I could have quite a few different people probably giving me different advice! Or Neighbourhood midwives. I choose neighbourhood midwives after Meeting Sharon Gamon, I actually preferred her to my original midwife that had taken me from 12 to 37 weeks! We hit it off straightway, she had a relaxed personality like me, so I knew she would make me feel relaxed and not annoy me during labour.

My labour went over 3 days as Poppy was sitting in the back to back position. After 48 hours of labour and no sleep we transferred into Hospital as I was just to tired to stay at home. I really wanted an epidural so I could sleep for a few hours!! ( something I said I would never have but after 48 hours you start thinking about anything to help get the baby out! And to be fair I lasted 48 hours without any pain relief so thought I had done pretty well so far!).

While at home Sharon was always on hand, I was in the bath, out the bath, moving round the house, went on a walk to see my horses to see if that would help, in the pool out the pool! She made the process as enjoyable as it could be and kept me and my husband relaxed. It was also hard for my husband as he up with me for the 48 hours so we were both tired, Sharon was also a great support to Lee. This was very important to us as we all felt part of the birth experience rather than making him take a back seat! 

Once settled in the hosipal Eleanor came to take over from Sharon. Eleanor was brilliant during my birth, she gave me full support in what I wanted my birth experience to be like. Rather than the hospital dictating how the process would work. She also knew all the midwives so everyone worked as a team. 

Poppy Olive Penson Arrived after 56 hours in labour. Lee and I couldn’t recommend neighbourhood midwives enough. The after care was also brilliant and just what you need after giving birth. You don’t want to be travelling around to doctors or midwife appointments. They also gave great support to many girls in my NCT group after they saw how good the after care was. 

"A huge thank you"

We can't believe Holly is a month old today! She is a really content baby and is only grumpy when she has wind, which she does seem to suffer from. Even night times are not too bad as she now tends to sleep from 11 till 8, albeit with one or two feed 'breaks'. I'm convinced part of her laid back nature is down to our 'relaxed' birth experience.

A huge thank you again for everything.

Lots of love,

Jenny, Andy, Holly and Ben xx

 

We received exceptional and thorough care

As expats living in London my husband and I lacked a sufficient support network to aide us through the birth of our first child. We were fortunate enough to learn of Neighbourhood Midwives for postnatal support. We received exceptional and thorough care from Tina Perridge throughout. Tina consistently not only went above and beyond in terms of care, her extensive expertise and nurturing personality made for a great experience.

My husband and I will definitely request Tina for our second birth!

Jake & Meagan Crawford

 "I felt empowered & looked forward to my appointments"

Having attended our first NHS midwife appointment I found myself totally underwhelmed- questions I had were left unanswered, urine samples & blood results were lost, the appointment felt rushed & impersonal. My husband & I therefore looked online for a maternity support service to fill in the gaps & came across neighbourhood midwives.

Our primary midwife Rene Bozier has been with us since the first month of pregnancy & has fulfilled all our requirements & more. She has been the best investment we could ever have made. All appointments were in the comfort of our own home fitted around busy work schedules, meaning no time off work was necessary (a life saver after a recent promotion). All my questions were answered & I was given choices about my care along with evidence based research to allow me to make informed decisions. The continuity of care meant I never had to repeat myself, I felt empowered & looked forward to my appointments.

Unfortunately my plan of a waterbirth at the local birthing centre was not to be, however Rene's presence at my emergency c-section was re-assuring amongst the chaos, panic & understaffing of the hospital (the hospital went into special measures the day we were there). As a result the visits post birth were literally life saving. Rene visited me in hospital for several days after delivery offering compassion, prompting hospital staff of the need for IV antibiotics & pain relief. She helped wash, change & feed both myself & the baby as I was too poorly to do it. Once back home she continued to offer practical support & advice when we needed it most, including out of hours & at weekends. Her knowledge & experience of newborns, c-section recoveries, alternative therapies & the resources available in our local area were invaluable. I honestly don't think I would have made it through the experience without her. I felt like I gained a trusted friend & would recommend her in a heartbeat.

"I couldn't be happier with the wonderful midwifery experience I had"

I couldn't be happier with the wonderful midwifery experience I had with Rene and Rae. It is great to have received their continuity of care during pregnancy, giving birth and after the twins were born.

Rene and Rae were always there for us. They gave us valuable advices and tips which made me feel comfortable and confident leading up to, during and after birth.

A special thank you to Rene who gave me the information and guidance I needed to prepare for birth and my new life as a mother.

Michelle and twins Oli and Eli

" I feel totally transformed ..."

The joy of being pregnant with my second daughter was overshadowed by my worries about going back to St Thomas Hospital, where though I'd had a safe natural birth a few years before, I'd felt out of control for much of it. I didn't want to go back to feeling that way. When after an anxious Google, I found Neighbourhood Midwives, I had a sense that they were the answer to my prayers. And I was right. Rene and Rae are guardian angels when it comes to the birth process! They looked after us so brilliantly through pregnancy - we felt so secure in regular check ups and my daughter loved doing the Doppler and blood pressure. Rene gave us a really thorough birth talk and we worked out the best option for me as an older mum if I went over my due date. Rene even came in to St Thomas Hospital (STH) to meet Julie, the consultant midwife with us. It was enormously helpful in getting a clear, pared down birth plan with options depending on whether I was overdue for the second time.

It all helped me to relax and when I did go past my due date, we had a plan that I felt in control of. After my waters were broken I felt relaxed and went into labour without any further intervention. We waited for a few hours looking out at Big Ben, (STH has the best views in London!) We kept Rene informed and as my contractions ramped up we were very happy to see her at about 11pm.

Rene was the voice of calm and confidence through the process. She guided us through the labour and it was clear that there was a great working relationship and trust between her and the STH midwives. And Rene was there solely for us - so she was able to ask for just the right thing at just the right moment. She knew when I needed help with breathing as contractions became more intense (and provide a calm presence to hang on to!) when to (gently) push for a room in the Birth Centre, to encourage me to try gas and air (fantastic!) and what to do as I pushed - one specific new positioning had my new baby pushing her way out into the world as if by magic.

What I said to Rene after the birth was that it felt like she was a guardian angel. I had a really healing birth second time around. It was hard work - birth is - but Rene helped me feel in control, surfing on top of the pain, not swamped by it. She stayed with us all night - a total trooper, determined to see Amy into the world. And when Amy arrived she was calm and happy and latched on straight away. I was so happy to come out without any intervention or stitches - a real testament to the calm guidance I had during the birth. And We were then massively supported by Rae who came to look after us in hospital.She was a such calm kind presence, and we were delighted to be allowed home the same day.

What can I say - Rene and Rae are kind, expert, guardian angels of the birthing process. I don't know what we would have done without them. The whole process was totally different with their support, friendly, relaxed, supportive. I feel totally transformed as a result, Thankyou!

 

"Thank you Tina for your exemplary care once again"

I just wanted to thank you for your exemplary care once again.

Having had such wonderful post-natal care with my daughter with you, we were keen to make sure we could have the same valuable support for our second child. There is no way I would have been able to breastfeed successfully without your continuous and daily support first time round after such a terrible start at the hospital (jaundice, missed tongue tie and an environment totally unconducive to breastfeeding).

As the pregnancy progressed, we faced some difficult decisions about how to have the baby. You were always impartial and supportive at appointments at the hospital.

When we decided that an elective section would be the safest thing for our much longed for little boy we were very nervous but your reassurance during the ante natal appointments we had at home made us feel really comfortable with what was coming. It was wonderful for our daughter to be able to be involved in the appointments, listening to the baby’s heartbeat and playing with the doll and pelvis (!)

You helped us plan the calmest and most ‘natural’ section possible and the birth was wonderful, calm and very intimate. G was delivered straight onto my chest and you were waiting for us in recovery where G latched on straight away and never looked back! He has fed so easily and successfully for the last 6 months and I know this is because we got it right from the start this time.

Your visits were so reassuring and all your tips on c section recovery and insisting on resting meant that I recovered well.

To anyone considering hiring an independent midwife, please rest assured it is not just for people who want a drug free home birth. Tina and her team can help you plan he best possible c-section and the support in the post natal period is so reassuring. I am only sorry that ALL women don’t have access to this support.

Once again thank you for making the first few weeks of both our children’s life so special and a period I look back on with real fondness. I felt so well looked after at a vulnerable time and my husband still comments on the aura of calm in the house when you arrived (can you come back and deal with toddlers?)

Much love

Martina

"Cheryl had an informed answer for every single one of our questions"

ERIN: We initially looked into the option of hiring a private midwife as we were due to give birth on the NHS and read numerous reports that the aftercare on the NHS was not sufficient. We are an Australian couple living in London and this was our first baby so we knew we would need some extra help after the birth.
I gave birth at the Birth Centre at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in December 2015. The staff there were incredible during the labour, however due to staff shortages and lack of funding, as we suspected the aftercare was not amazing. Thankfully we were prepared for this, and our amazing Neighbourhood Midwife, Cheryl, was able to step in right away and was the greatest support for us in our baby's early days and weeks.
Initially, Cheryl came by every alternative day to the community midwife. At each appointment Cheryl was unbelievably friendly, knowledgable and able to reassure us and help us. I was having trouble getting our baby to latch on and breastfeeding was painful. Cheryl took the time and observed the feeding and offered various tips on how to get him to latch properly, showed me various positions and offered reasons for why he may not be latching properly. Our baby was also a little jaundiced and she helped us to fix this with feeding schedules and monitoring. Cheryl was also able to give us hints on sleeping, what we should expect from our baby and how we could make life easier for all of us. When our baby was about 8 weeks we had concerns that he had wind and/or reflux. We again engaged Cheryl for a one-off appointment who checked our baby over, observed him and gave recommendations for 'treatment' which was a huge help again.
Cheryl had an informed answer for every single one of our questions and each tip that she provided helped greatly. There is no way we would have been able to have such a stress-free first few weeks if it wasn't for Cheryl and her much needed support. We would look forward to each visit with her and enjoyed sitting down with her, having a cup of coffee and talking about our baby and how we were coping. She was definitely instrumental in our baby's early development and gave us huge confidence and reassurance in our newfound parenting skills. We cannot recommend and thank Cheryl enough!!

TIM: My wife and I were very fortunate to have Cheryl from Neighbourhood Midwives as our midwife for aftercare for our first born son Spencer in December. As a mere mortal husband, there is little i really know apart from the books and classes, i could only help so much  - Cheryl gave us that level of confidence and surety that we needed in those first few days and weeks. We were both new parents, with the first few weeks now feeling like one big blur - having someone who you can ask the most random, basic, or convoluted  questions was very important. Cheryl had a genuine interest and love for the little man she was looking after (and not only the mum's but dad's wellbeing!). She would answer these random questions by text or call very happily, and when she came to our house would stay for "as long as it takes" - there was never a fixed time, she would stay to see the next feed cycle or his next little 'episode' so she could actually diagnose or fix the problem (instead of talking theoretically). She gave us both that little bit of confidence that what we were doing was right (or at least as good as it could be!) and we were not going crazy - this is all the assurance you need as a young couple during those times. In hindsight it was a very inexpensive option which gave us a lot of confidence and knowledge for Spencer  - you never know how those first few weeks will be, from latching or feeding or sleeping, so why not have a trusted, qualified third party to call on? As a husband and as a dad, it is an absolute no brainer to give your wife and little one the easiest start to life....and both mother-in-laws gave her 5 stars (one a nurse, the other a mother of 5!). I always highly recommended the service, and Cheryl, to anyone who will listen!
 

"Veronica and Elaine know that every couple is different..."

For any couple having a baby, it is a exciting time. You look to share the good news with your friends and family alike. Exciting as it maybe, it is a time of pressure, worry, and confusion. That is where the professionals come in. The Thames Valley Neighbourhood Midwife team Veronica Parker and Elaine Batchelor are fantastic. They help you down this road, helping you make the decisions that are right for you are your own family. Their passion for the journey that the individuals are taking is outstanding. I think one of the most enticing points that they have to offer (among many i should add). Individuality. Veronica and Elaine know that every couple is different, their experiences will be different and that situations are different. That is where the fact that they are private midwives comes into its own. They have all the time in the world for you. My partner and I were told on multiple occasions, "don't hesitate to call or text, anytime of the day, morning or night". This was a massive relief, knowing that if there was any problems, or any missing information that we needed, they would be there in an instant.

Their understanding and knowledge was at the paramount of the midwifery field. They always knew the answer, and if they were not completely sure, they knew who to ask, or were to go looking for the elusive answer. The level of compassion for every single detail was superb, understanding that every decision was a hard one.

At first my partner and I elected for a home birth, comfortable in their presence and surrounded by a shield of professional knowledge. However, as we were edging closer to the due date, our baby did not turn and remained breach. Veronica and Elaine with their contacts managed to get us a get us a late appointment with a senior consultant at the John Radcliffe Hospital for an ECV. This was in vain. However my beautiful little daughter was born a week later after a caesarean section. The ability for Veronica and Elaine to adapt and remould the plans that were in place was impressive.

In one of the first meeting that we had with Thames Valley Neighbourhood Midwives, it was stated that they were working towards improving the level of care that was offered to our nation health service, working on the basis on a personalised services and more frequent visitation. I am happy to offer my congratulations on the completion of the goals they set, this is my view anyway.

I truly implore anyone and everyone to let this fantastic team share your wonderful journey to parenthood with you. I whole heartily thank you for the care you have given us neighborhood midwives and wish that our personal friendship continues for a long time to come.

"My second birth experience healed the scars from the first..."

With Rene by my side my second birth experience has healed the scars from the first and allowed me to enjoy every second of becoming a mum again. I will forever be grateful for her support to make this such an amazing experience for me and my family. I would not have another baby without her.

"Corina and Cheryl have been exceptional guides in preparation for the home birth of our first child..."

We have chosen Neighbourhood Midwives because they were the only 'institutionalised' provider of pre, during and post pregnancy care consistent with the principles we deeply believe in: Ina May's spiritual midwifery (including home birth) and attachment parenting principles.

Corina and Cheryl have been exceptional guides in preparation for the home birth of our first child. Their regular home visits as well as availability over email, phone and texts pretty much 24/7 proved to be invaluable for us as first time parents. They definitely go the extra mile for the mums to be and their partners. First pregnancies are particularly tricky and full of anxieties and more or less minor scares. Our expert midwives have ensured that at no point have we lost a night of sleep over those fears. They have also provided both of us with all the necessary resources to prepare for the delivery at home and early stages of parenting. Neighbourhood Midwives fully respected our strong preference for as few medical interventions as possible. For us, and for them, birth is not an illness requiring constant medical monitoring and hospitalisation but a natural joy of life, and should be experienced to the fullest. At the same time, NM are fully capable of offering more conventional ways of navigating through pregnancies, and respect birth plan preferences of the soon to be parents.

Kristina and Dominik

"I may just have to get pregnant again..."

I always knew that I would want more support with my second pregnancy having had several miscarriages preceding it, and I knew the nhs would be unable to provide me this given their limited resources. I had heard of Annie via Battersea yoga so neighbourhood midwives was my first port of call.... In addition having had a good birth experience first time around I was open to a home birth (which st George's were unable to provide given my postcode).
Having antenatal appointments at home was not only convenient but i looked forward to all of them. There was none of my usual anxiety about being In a hospital environment...
As the birth approached it was reassuring having Tina and Annie close by and at the end of the phone... I had been dreading transferring in (lots of speed bumps in sw16 especially!). But after a slightly longer labour than I expected I had the birth I wanted at home. The post natal period was brilliant: so much more comforting than being on a crowded ward and of course Tina and Annie were there to literally carry me into bed!
The breastfeeding niggles were ironed out quickly given the regular postnatal contact so by 6 weeks feLt pretty confident about my baby's development and my mental state! In addition did not feel nearly as tired as with my first...
A big thank you to Tina and Annie for keeping me sane, reassuring me (and my husband) and enabling us to welcome our baby at home.
I may just have to get pregnant again....

"I was very fortunate to meet Tina Perridge through my work"

I was very fortunate to meet Tina Perridge through my work as a birth preparation and stress-management practitioner with Sophrology. When I got pregnant I soon realised that this was now my time to be accompanied by caring and knowledgeable professionals! Having my little boy was such an intense and unique experience that I often wonder how other mums do this without the guidance of a midwife! Also, having no family here and having come from another country were certainly extra challenges in the process and Tina was always there to guide me through the kind of birth I wanted and reassure me during tougher times. She supported me throughout without pressure, making sure I was making informed choices. My little on is almost 4 months now and I am happily breastfeeding thanks to perseverance and Tina´s encouragement and expert advice from the start. I can't thank you enough Tina, I am treasuring every moment we shared! I highly recommend the continuity of care you provide, which is definitely a great investment!

"I looked forward so much to her visits"

I was ‘given’ the gift of Rene Bozier by my sister in law as a Christmas present when I was pregnant with my second baby.  Shortly after that I found out that I was having twins, which made this extremely generous present all the more incredible.  From the first meeting with Rene right through to when my twins were 7 weeks old, I felt supported, listened to and respected.  I probably didn’t fit the normal mother-to-be that Rene was used to working with.  I knew almost immediately when I found that I was having twins that I wanted to have a cesarean and Rene was 100% supportive of that decision, while giving me all the necessary information to make an informed decision.  On the day of the birth, Rene was there to literally hold my hand, especially when I was rushed back into theatre because of bleeding.  She stayed calm and explained what was going on to me.  Once at home, I looked forward so much to her visits.  She was reassuring, kind, helpful and everything you need from a midwife and more.  I will forever be grateful to Rene and would recommend her to any friends /family.

"I had the most wonderful midwifery experience"

had the most wonderful midwifery experience thanks to Neighbourhood Midwives. It meant the world having someone I knew and trusted always available. Good old fashioned community care that I wish more women could experience.

Knowing that most women never see the same midwife twice, I feel very privileged to have received this continuity of care, and would recommend it to anyone who is able to access it.

Lily and baby Wylde

"We don’t know what we would have done without her"

Since realizing that I was pregnant I felt I needed some additional support during pregnancy and labour , but I didn’t realize how important our lovely midwife Rene was going to be for us not just during pregnancy but also after our baby was born.

Knowing you have someone you can trust and is on the other end of the phone whenever you need her was crucial to us, she was our advocate during labour and provided care and emotional support during the first few weeks after the baby was born.

Our baby was not feeding well and lost some weight but thankfully I could rely on someone with the experience of Rene and the help and support we received from her was invaluable.

We don’t know what we would have done without her and have no doubt the whole experience of birth would have been very different.

Roberta

"Amazing Experience"

Annie, I can’t thank you enough for your huge part in the amazing experience that was Henrietta’s birth. You’ve shifted my opinion of labour from absolute hell to exactly what it should be - truly wonderful. Homebirth completely surpassed my expectations and I will treasure that day forever. What you and Neighbourhood Midwives are doing is a truly brilliant thing. I hope many more women get to enjoy it. With love and enormous gratitiude.

Holly

"They were my epidural, and then some"

My first birth was relatively straightforward from a medical perspective but it was traumatising emotionally and left me skeptical of my body's ability to birth without intervention, fearful that I wouldn't be able to cope through a normal labour, and afraid of the hospital setting. As soon as I knew I was pregnant with my second child, I knew I wanted to try for a natural birth. During the prenatal period, Annie Francis and Tina Perridge were amazing at helping me work through these fears and anxieties so that during the labour I was able to just let go. By the time my labour was imminent, I was completely at peace with the possibility that I might end up in the hospital setting I had previously been so fearful of, because I knew I could 100 per cent trust their judgement and expertise. When I finally went into labour at 7am, I was holding my baby girl within 2.5 hours after a beautiful home birth and I truly believe a large part of that had to do with the fact that I could be so relaxed because they made me feel so safe. During the labour they were nothing short of brilliant - calm, soothing, loving, positive, motherly, helping me get back in control when I started to struggle, but also knowing exactly when to stand back and let nature take its course. The monitoring they did was so gentle and non obtrusive that most of the time I wasn’t even aware it was occurring. They were perfect guides through a challenging but beautiful experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. They were my epidural, and then some (and definitely my husband’s sedative!)

Amy

"The best money we have spent"

We cannot speak highly enough of our experience with Corina and Sheila. Lizzie and I so often tell our friends that our investment in Neighbourhood midwives was the best money we have spent. I only wish we had made the decision sooner and taken full advantage of the knowledge, support and confidence it gave us. I am a passionate supporter in the concept of the NHS but sadly we did not have a happy experience throughout the pregnancy. Having Neighbourhood midwives as our advocate throughout the labour and post-natal eased the process so much. As for the labour itself; we were so fortunate to have a dream day. But I don't see this as lucky. I really believe we have Neighbourhood midwives to thank for how well the day went. And that relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere throughout the labour has continued in the early days of Lili's life and our adventure as parents. Both Lizzie and I have several friends starting a family and we have strongly urged all of them to engage Neighbourhood Midwives. I simply cannot overstate the importance of having such a strong, sympathetic and experienced advocate to be at your side throughout this most remarkable experience of life.

Tim & Lizzie

"Truly personal service"

It is a curious thing having babies. Everyone knows best, but like it or loath it, I am now going to tell you what I think you should do. I have had three babies with Neighbourhood Midwives and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. This is a truly personal service, a hard thing to be able to achieve when it comes to healthcare; public or private.

Let's face it, having babies is intensely personal which is why it is of vital importance to have a group of people on your side who you can trust and who have not only seen it all before, but make you feel that nothing you ask is too silly, naive or excessive.

From every small twinge at the beginning of your pregnancy to every full blown contraction at the end and beyond, they are on call 24/7 to lend support and nurture you through. This team of professionals are not only highly trained individuals but also actual mothers, and approach their day to day job as such.

It is a joy to be able to look forward to your Neighbourhood Midwife visits and to know that they will increase in frequency as your pregnancy develops. There is no real need for numerous hospital visits or frustrating clinic waiting rooms as the midwives will come to your home and do all of your care from there. They will even deliver your baby there, if that is what you would like. There is no pressure from any of the midwives to choose any type of birth that doesn't make you happy, comfortable and confident at all times. The real point here is, that you have that power to choose.

There is no question that having the continuity of healthcare that they provide is also the key. To have the Neighbourhood Midwives that you know and trust by your side for that whole unique journey of pregnancy, throughout your labour and for quite some time afterwards to help with every aspect of your own recovery and the vital care of your newborn, is exceptional.

It was a blessing for me with each pregnancy (as they were all so different) as well as for my friends. So, I do hope that you will forgive me for telling you what I think you should do, and thereby giving you the chance to experience the Neighbourhood Midwives for yourself, and allowing them to do what they undoubtedly do best.

Catriona

"Tina was exceptional in her care"

Tina helped us through the postnatal period, and if we had known what we know now – we would have wanted her by our side throughout the whole process.

Tina was exceptional in her care, non-judgemental and just so supportive. She was there for all of us – my husband, baby and me. When a baby arrives, people tend to focus solely on the baby’s needs, what is unique about the care we received, is that Tina treated us as a family unit, recognising that if one of us was struggling – then we all would!

My experience of becoming a mother was made so much clearer, easier and calmer because of Tina, and most importantly, she gave me confidence that I am and could be the best mother for my baby.

Many people comment that Aidan is a relaxed, calm and happy baby, and I believe this has a lot to do with the support that Tina gave us in his early days of life. We cannot thank you enough for all that you did for us!

Patrick, Vicki and Aidan

"Positive birth experience"

Although always a slightly nervous experience first time around, having ONE midwife who understood us (me and my husband) and supported us at every turn, gave us the confidence to make the right decisions for us. Being allowed to include our midwife in our hospital birth made sure we had a positive birth experience. Sharing our story with my NCT group, I was the only one out of 7 who could say this!

Samantha

"I can’t recommend this service enough"

I can’t recommend this service enough!! Rene was fantastic and put us at ease straight away. The tongue tie procedure took seconds & my son hardly fussed. I noticed the difference in feeding immediately - I can't believe I didn't know about the Neighbourhood midwives sooner! Mummy & baby very happy!

Lindsay

"I will never forget how they were able to lift our spirits"

I had a caesarean, so I was one of the few for whom a natural birth was not meant to be. The operation can be a bit of a trauma but Annie and Tina literally held my hand all the way and after the birth they helped me so much. Every birth is different I suppose and no one knows how things are going to turn out but I can say having them around to look in on us every day while I was recovering made the most enormous difference to my relationship with my second baby daughter. I will never forget how they were able to lift our spirits.

Sylvestra

"I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you to anyone"

The reason we chose you Eleanor was to get continuity of care - which is sadly lacking in the NHS. Your ability to build relationships, not only with me but also with the rest of the family was fantastic and gave everyone confidence. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you to anyone. Even though the homebirth didn't work out as planned, having you as my advocate in the hospital was invaluable. Looking back now, I can even say I enjoyed the whole experience!

Sally and Nigel

"They have become a part of our family"

I have used the services of Annie Francis and Tina Perridge twice now and if I have any more children it certainly won't be the last. To say that Annie and Tina have made the transition into motherhood easier is an understatement. They have become a part of our family and I am in awe of their knowledge, patience and love for their profession and their clients. My first labour was somewhat unusual in the fact that I was extremely naive and didn't realise I was in labour so when we phoned Annie in the middle of the night, I was fully dilated by the time she arrived ten minutes later! An ambulance was called and my gorgeous son was born in Kingston hospital. We were kept in for a week due to my son being nearly four weeks early and having jaundice. I was an emotional wreck but Annie and Tina’s hospital visits kept me on track and they always made themselves available to talk, reason & sympathise with me!

I had planned to have my second child at home but as we all know, things don’t always go according to plan. I was expecting my daughter to 'fall out' following the easy ride I had with my son but that wasn’t to be. I actually had what was considered a normal labour but it still totally threw me off course so I decided to go to the midwife-led unit at Kingston hospital. Annie and my husband were right by my side the whole time. Knowing I had Annie as another pair of eyes in case the unexpected happened was so comforting.

Because my first labour was so quick and pain free, I almost didn't ask Annie and Tina to help out. We had just moved from a flat to a house so we were counting every penny. It wasn't until I was in my second trimester and suffering from food poisoning, that my local doctor had trouble finding the baby's heartbeat. That was when I realised that the safe delivery of my baby was far more important than the kitchen upgrade I was planning. My husband and I agreed that yes, it was costly but no more than the wedding dress I had purchased for our wedding day & our children are a lifetime event. Seeing it this way helped put the whole thing into perspective. As soon as I had my first appointment with Annie at home, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders. No longer did I have to trawl the internet for advice or worry about every little niggle I felt - I could just contact Annie 24/7 and she always had the answers.

So, for anyone weighing up whether to use Neighbourhood Midwives, I cannot recommend them enough. Whether this is your first, second or third pregnancy, whether you plan to have your baby at home or in hospital, your experience for you and your baby will be far more pleasant with their help.

Amanda

"I can not highly recommend enough. I would use them again in a heartbeat."

The best postnatal care decision I made was to book the team at Neighbourhood midwives. Corina and Ayse helped us through a major transition period in our lives and the effects are still ongoing. Through her help I am adept at breast feeding, understand my son's needs and am undoubtedly a more confident and therefore happier mother. Both Corina and Ayse were really lovely and most importantly easy to be around at a time when you have just had a baby and feeling exhausted and bewildered. There was no clock watching approach but the better attitude towards focusing to help us to get to grips with being first time parents. Five months on I hear 'oh you are so lucky that Leo drinks from the breast and bottle'... Let me tell you luck had nothing to do with it! It was the magic of Corina and Ayse helping us to get to grips with it all! I can not highly recommend enough. I would use them again in a heartbeat.

Susie

"I felt safe and loved"

I want to tell you how deeply thankful and grateful Leon and I are to you, Rene, for helping us to have such a truly wonderful birth. I felt safe and loved and although I doubted my abilities you gave me the support to carry on. I have not only been able to give birth to Verity in a way I could only have dreamed of but also now realise I have an inner strength that I knew nothing of. It takes truly special people that honestly care like you and Sally to enable people to realise this. To say that you go through life making your mark on it is an understatement - you affect peoples lives in such a positive and empowering way. I will always be grateful to you and you will never be forgotten.

All our love, Leon, Hayley, Rose and of course Verity