"When the best in care is one midwife you know and trust by your side throughout pregnancy, the birth of your baby and beyond...we're there for you."

What is an independent midwife?

What we can offer you

We meet you during an initial consultation to discuss your requirements and to meet one of our midwives. This will be in your home and enables us to meet each other, exchange ideas and discuss your requirements for care. We offer telephone numbers of other clients that we have cared for so that you can chat to them for references.

Our full package of care begins when you book and ending one month after your baby is born. Easy payment instalments can be arranged if required.
All your antenatal care will be in the comfort and privacy of your own home and arranged to suit you.  The first visit lasts about 2 hours during which time we will take your medical and maternity history, do a physical examination with your consent if appropriate. 


The long antenatal visits from Kay were exactly what I needed to build up the trust required for a comfortable labour. I appreciated her respect for my decisions such as not being examined/monitored excessively during labour and feeling it was OK to say ‘no’!
— Lara Beaton, Rochester, Kent


Q: Who can use an independent midwife

All women can benefit by having the contunity of care from an independent midwife, as this has been demonstrated to be the safest type of maternity care.

Q: Where is your midwifery practice based?

Most Independent midwives will travel for an hour from where they live. Fortunately in Kent most towns can be reached within an hour's drive of Ashford, where both midwives in the practice live.

Q: What things are required for a home birth?

Not much in fact. The most important thing is a plastic sheet to protect floors, sofas and beds, and some soft covering like old sheets or towels. And then lots of nice little touches like music and candles for atmosphere, comfort foods and drinks, ice cubes, hot water bottle for example to help with labour. We always discuss this in more detail nearer the birth – we find that women feel settled and relaxed knowing that all is in order. Read more about how to prepare >

Q. Can I still have NHS care if I choose independent midwives?

Yes, you are still entitled to NHS care for any tests or scans which would normally be provided on the NHS. You can have antenatal appointments with Kent Midwifery Practice, and still see your GP or attend any hospital tours and antenatal classes which your local Trust offers. Both Kay Hardie and Virginia Howes can arrange for you to have any NHS tests or scans which are required, and can refer you to an NHS obstetrician if you need a consultation. We practise in co-operation with our NHS colleagues to support our clients if they need hospital care. Kent Midwifery Practice covers a number of NHS Trusts, and we can advise you about services available in your area. We can also advise on private scans and referral to any other private practice.

Q. What if I need drugs for pain relief, or after the birth?

Virginia Howes and Kay Hardie are both licensed to administer drugs on the Midwives' List. This includes Entonox ('Gas and Air'), Pethidine (injected opiates) and drugs to manage postpartum haemorrhage. You do not need to see your GP to get a prescription for Pethidine. At Kent Midwifery Practice we bring plenty of Entonox to births, because we know how frustrating it can be to run out.

Q: "Is It Messy?"

We find that birth isn’t messy actually, but perhaps that’s because as midwives we have seen so many births! Provided there is adequate protective covering, everything can be folded up and put into a dustbin sack and you’d never have known a baby had been born. So many of our clients comment afterwards that they are so pleased that the carpets are clean!