Midwife-led Care

Home Birth

If you live in North, West or South Belfast and are healthy with a straightforward pregnancy you can have your baby at home. In your own environment you are more likely to be able to relax, which supports the natural process of labour and birth, and women often find they need less pain relief as a result.

Our community midwives are experienced in supporting you to give birth at home and are trained to deal with any emergencies. If problems arise before or after the birth with either you or your baby, your midwife will discuss these with you and you will be transferred to hospital by ambulance. Your community midwife can answer any questions you may have and will be happy to discuss planning your home birth with you.

Midwife-led Care

This is where the midwife is the lead professional in planning and delivering care for the mother without obstetric or medical complications.  This type of care is available across both sites within Belfast Trust (Royal-Jubilee Maternity Service and Mater Maternity Unit).  It encompasses several different models of care which will be discussed in the following sections.

Following your booking appointment your midwife will recommend which type of care is best suited to you and refer you accordingly. Midwifery-led care is suitable for women who are generally in good health and are anticipating an uncomplicated pregnancy.  Click here to access the regional guidelines.

Midwifery Service in Community

About the Service
The team of community midwives provides antenatal, intranatal and postnatal care to women and their families.

They are specialists in providing maternity care where there are no complications and they work together with local GPs and other health and social care professionals.

Their role includes:

  • Health Promotion and early pregnancy advice.
  • Arranging booking appointment and discussing choices for where to give birth.
  • Providing antenatal care in local community midwife base, local doctor’s surgeries and at home.
  • Attending women in labour in hospital or who are giving birth at home
  • Visiting new mums and babies in their homes for up to 28 days after a birth.
  • Facilitating local breastfeeding support groups.

The team provides advice to women and their partners throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period.

They give support to new mothers and babies about parenthood and baby feeding and have close links with health visitors and GPs.

How to Access the Service:

Once you confirm that you are pregnant you should make an appointment with a community midwife. You can find out how to do this at your local GP Surgery. The GP may wish to speak with you first and send a letter to the hospital or community midwife. The care you receive during your pregnancy is called antenatal care.

You will receive an appointment to attend a Booking Clinic.

This may be with the community midwife or it may be with the hospital midwife:

This will involve taking a detailed history, a scan and you may also be seen by a consultant obstetrician.

When the midwife has taken your medical history they will discuss the options available to you as regards where to give birth: home, Midwife Led Unit (Mater), or Hospital (RJMS).  Future appointments will be arranged by your community midwife.

The Community Midwife Teams for The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust are:

North: based at Grove Health and Wellbeing Centre Tel: 028 9063 6222 
West: based at Ballyowen Health Centre Tel: 028 9504 0353
South: based at Finaghy Health Centre Tel: 028 9504 2650