A Midwife 4 Me: Maternity groups unite to call for continuity of care during pregnancy, birth and beyond
An alliance of charities and groups working to improve maternity care has launched a new campaign ‘A Midwife for Me and my Baby’.
The new movement, organised by the Association for Improvements in Maternity Service (AIMS), Association of Radical Midwives (ARM), Independent Midwives UK (IM UK), The Birth I Want and parent charity NCT, wants to ensure that every woman has a midwife she knows and trusts supporting her through her pregnancy, birth and beyond.
The campaign follows on from new research revealing that, despite government pledges to make care more woman-centred, women are still not getting continuity of care and the one-to-one support they need from their midwife.
The campaign calls upon urgent action for:
• Governments and commissioners to create an environment in which: the case loading model of midwifery can flourish and spread; midwives who want to case load can set up and grow their practices; women can access the care locally, wherever they are
• Governments and commissioners to ensure users of maternity services have a genuine opportunity to influence and shape maternity care at a local level
• Governments to place greater value on the importance of a close relationship between women and their midwife that comes from continuity of care
• Governments to ensure that incentives within the maternity care system encourage an approach to care that delivers the best outcomes for every woman
The groups are calling on parents to support the campaign by sending a message to their MP on a custom designed illustration of a baby, downloadable from the website www.m4m.org.uk.
A recent study from NCT and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes shows that out of the 2,000 women giving birth each day, 1,620 will not be attended at any point in their labour by a midwife they have met before. One women’s response was:
“I had no relationship with her established [before I was] frightened or in pain. So she didn’t know what behaviour was normal for me or how to best relate to me. It was much more difficult to trust her quickly.”
Chief Executive, NCT, Belinda Phipps said:
“As the UK baby boom continues so too does the demand for maternal care. As a result, we are seeing our midwives being pushed to their limits and an ever-changing workforce is leaving parents without adequate care throughout pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Where mothers and new-borns receive good maternity care from day one they are better equipped to cope with the challenges in the months and years after birth. They are also less much likely to require medical intervention or be readmitted, avoiding unnecessary financial strain on the NHS.”
Midwife and National Coordinator of ARM, Katherine Hales said:
“Whilst the Department of Health in England promotes a policy of continuity of care, on the ground, where it matters to women and their families, this remains a low priority.
By making changes to the way maternity care is set up and principally to what is and is not incentivised, we could make a big difference both to outcomes for women and their babies as well as to NHS finances”.
For more information, please contact NCT’s press office on 020 8752 2404 or email email@example.com
Notes to Editors
About ‘Midwife 4 Me and My Baby’:
A Midwife 4 Me and My Baby’ campaign was launched by a coalition of charities and groups to ensure that every woman has access to a midwife that she can get to know and trust, who can support her through pregnancy, birth and beyond, regardless of her circumstances or where her baby is to be born. www.m4m.org.uk/manifesto.php
About Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS):
The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) has been in the forefront of the childbirth movement for the last fifty years. Our day to day work includes providing independent support and information about maternity choices and raising awareness of current research on childbirth and related issues. AIMS’ actively supports parents and healthcare professionals who recognise that, for the majority of women, birth is a normal rather than a medical event. For more information visit www.aims.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 365 0663.
About Association of Radical Midwives:
ARM was set up in 1976 by a small group of midwives and students shortly after midwifery services were moved from Local Authorities to the NHS. They were concerned that midwives would lose their expertise and authority in caring for women expected to have a normal birth and that midwifery would become obstetric nursing. A radical midwife is an NHS trained midwife who believes that birth is primarily a normal physiological event and that midwives should be the guardians of normal birth, protecting women from overzealous medical intervention. They believe that midwives should be rooted in the communities in which the mothers they care for will bring up their babies. ARM continues to campaign for mother and baby centred care. Its document ‘The New Vision’ available at www.midwifery.org.uk shows a better way forward for maternity care which is in keeping with the aims of Midwife4Me campaign.
About Independent Midwives:
Independent midwives (IMs) are registered and regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and practice outside the NHS. They provide continuity of care during pregnancy, birth and post-natal, and attend births at home. IMs often assist women who have had poor experiences of care in previous and are an incredibly valuable repository of skills that are fast disappearing in mainstream maternity care, such as vaginal delivery of breech babies and twins. Thousands of women turn to them every year seeking to prioritise birth at home, avoid induction or caesarean sections and for the continuous care they can provide which is frequently unavailable within the NHS system. www.independentmidwives.org.uk
About The Birth I Want
The Birth I Want campaign was set up with the aim of making constructive noise about women's experiences of midwifery care and birth as a way to influence and inform the shape of maternity services in the UK. The campaign looks to articulate and illustrate what women want and need and indeed what delivers the best outcomes for women and their babies, at a time where maternity services are ripe for change. www.thebirthiwant.org.uk
NCT is the UK’s largest parent charity. Each year the charity supports millions of parents through their first 1,000 days, offering expert information and trusted practical and emotional support through its website, helpline, the nationwide network of over 300 local branches, antenatal and postnatal classes, breastfeeding counselling and peer support schemes. For more information call NCT on 0300 330 0770 or visit www.nct.org.uk.