Karen van der Merwe ~ Independent Midwife
“Pregnancy & giving birth are probably the most wonderful, challenging & fulfilling experiences that you will ever encounter. They are unique & personal experiences that may also be associated with anxiety & fear for you. The choices & decisions that you make during this time will have lifelong consequences for not only this baby…..but also for your future pregnancies, births & children”.
My philosophy of birth is that it is a “unique & intimate experience, which I am blessed to have the privilege & responsibility to conduct in a humanistic manner”. I believe that the pregnancy & birth journey of each & every baby & how they are welcomed into this world has lifelong consequences not only for the individual but also for their families & society as well. I have a passion for natural, physiological birth & believe that “Midwives Make A Difference” I have a compassionate & holistic approach to both pregnancy, birth & beyond.
Midwifery is an art that is learnt over years & requires the attaining of specialized knowledge & skills that are learnt through, professional education as well as practical experience. My clients & their families are an ongoing learning experience & it is rewarding to empower them on one of the most important journeys in their lives – “Pregnancy, Birth, Afterbirth & Parenting”.
My relationship with my pregnant moms & their families usually starts with a phone call query or first meeting consultation & continues until months after their births & even years, as they birth time & time again. Trust, honesty, respect, openness & advocacy are important values that I encompass in my relationship with my clients. I feel a part of each & every family & that really warms my heart & puts a smile on my face as I feel I really made & make a difference to a greater or lesser extent.
I myself gave birth to one son & assisted at my granddaughter’s birth. Andrew was born over 26 years ago & I experienced an “active birth” managed labour under the care of a midwife. My son was born after a 24 hour long, difficult back labour, over 2 hours of pushing & a failed vacuum/suction delivery which led to foetal distress and an emergency caesarean section under epidural anaesthetic. At the time I felt that I had failed…. & as a midwife it left a void for me & I felt cheated. I have subsequently come to terms with the fact that my journey had a purpose & has made me a much more understanding midwife & able to ease this journey for my clients in the event they have a difficult experience. I am happy to say though that over the years I have learnt the skills to help prevent & reduce the likelihood of this type of labour & birth for my clients & I have also learn’t the skills to manage these labours more effectively making the journey easier for my clients using both alternative & medical skills…..”My focus being on getting my mom’s babies in good birthing positions in the last weeks of their pregnancy thereby reducing the likelihood of a difficult labour.. Due to this I can honestly say that most of my clients manage labour well and by trusting the process usually experience a normal physiological birth. There are times though that medical interventions are required & I only use these interventions when it is truly medically indicated & necessary.
“Birth should be an empowering, safe & supported experience for the mother & father/partner as well as a gentle & safe experience for the baby”.
My Service includes
I offer a comprehensive private midwifery service, including care of the pregnant mother during her pregnancy, throughout her labour & birth & through her postnatal-afterbirth period.
I also offer counseling before conception, if a client wishes in preparation for pregnancy.
I work independently which means my clients get one on one care throughout their Pregnancy, Birth, & Postnatal-Period, only using a locum very occasionally.
I also offer “antenatal classes” to my own clients as well as to Moms who are birthing with other midwives & Doctors. They are very informative and will empower you with the right evidence based information with which to make informed choices & decisions.
Experience & qualifications are
I am a registered general nurse & midwife:
- Registered nurse with honours - 1983
- Registered midwife with honours - 1985
I qualified with ”Honours” in General nursing in 1983 & then in 1985 again with “Honours” in midwifery. It was then that my passion & dedication to midwifery led care developed. I have subsequently acquired over 33 years experience in various maternity clinics both provincial & private. Working in various maternity units as a midwife and in management positions. I have been practicing as an independent private midwife for more than 15 years now, caring for pregnant moms & conducting their births in their homes (Homebirths) & in various hospitals & birth units in Johannesburg. I also run “Antenatal Classes” on a regular weekly basis.
My Services & How I Operate
I have a “limited practice” which means I take on a maximum number of clients per month of 5 or 6 pregnant moms. This allows me the time needed to offer a good standard of care & operate safely. By not overbooking, my availability to my clients is consistent & this is of the utmost importance to me.
I currently consult from my home office in Sundowner, Randburg as well as Genesis Clinic in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
I also usually advocate that my clients acquire the services of a “Doula” during their pregnancy and see it as an invaluable tool in managing their labour process. These ladies bring additional alternative skills to help manage the pain associated with labour & therefore assist with the overall steady progress of labour as well as the mothers comfort both physically, psychologically & emotionally.
I also work closely with a multidisciplinary health team & refer my clients when necessary to these services. This includes: the Backup Obstetricians, Paediatricians, Doulas, Homeopaths, Chiropractors, Reflexologists, Acupuncturists, Aromatherapists, Physiotherapists, Psychologists, Counsellors & the Community health nurses & clinics.
Summarised my services include
- Services include VBAC births, (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean).
- Antenatal Consultations & Care:
- Every 4 weeks until 28 weeks
- Then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks
- Then weekly until you’ve birthed
- Home & Clinic births - Assisting in labour & birth. Including normal vaginal deliveries, waterbirths,, & support during caesarean birth. I encourage normal physiological birth using “Active Birth Techniques” which uses natural pain relief methods including, breathing & deep relaxation, massage, warm water & alternative therapies. I only use medical forms of pain relief & management if it becomes medically necessary! – which occurs from time to time.
- Postnatal Consultations & Care including breastfeeding support. This includes hospital & home visits after birth.
- 6 week postnatal follow up after birth
- Antenatal Childbirth Classes – from 20 weeks gestation:
This is a series of weekly classes run over a 6 week period. Each class lasts 3 hours each, & prepares you physically, emotionally & intellectually for your birthing experience & early parenthood. It also includes preparation for caesarean birth.
Hiring of equipment
- Birth Pool Hire
- Symphony Breast Pump Hire
- Home Phototherapy
- Tuesdays: Sundowner, Randburg
- Thursdays: Genesis Maternity Clinic
Karen: 082 3357731