New guidance has been launched to support midwives in their vital work to deliver high-quality maternity care.
The resource, developed by the Royal College of Midwives, is intended to provide midwives with key evidence when it comes to caring for women during labour and birth.
“We hope that this guidance will be a useful resource for midwives when providing care for all women”
Issued as part of the RCM’s Midwifery Blue Top Guidance Programme, it includes research from the University of Nottingham’s Maternal Health and Wellbeing Research Group, as well as contributions from a multi-disciplinary expert advisory group.
The guidance – titled Midwifery care in labour guidance for women in all settings – provides an accessible version of evidence-based recommendations for all aspects of labour and birth.
It emphasises an approach in which a woman’s own preferences ahead of giving birth should define the care they receive, noted those behind the guidelines.
Among the recommendations included in the document is that midwives inform women that giving birth in a midwifery unit may improve the outcomes and experiences for those who do not need obstetric care.
Midwives should also discuss with women how they can adapt their birthing room to suit their needs and to talk through what adjustments are available for lighting, heating and ventilation, suggests the guidance.
Women should also be supported by midwives in adopting the position they choose during labour and birth, and to support them in changing position as and when they want to, it states.
In addition, the RCM has produced a companion booklet for mothers, to help support discussions with their midwives so that they have information to make the right choices for their care.
It was also noted in the new guidance that midwives should be provided with adequate space within the room to complete paperwork.
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Gill Walton, chief executive at the RCM, said: “We are really proud of these new professional guidelines, which will support all midwives in the UK to practise at their level best, and should also encourage and support conversations between midwives and the women they care for, about what the options are for them as individuals.
“Our gratitude goes to our esteemed colleagues, for their dedicated research and support throughout this project,” she added.
Helen Spiby, professor of midwifery at the University of Nottingham, said: “Midwifery care makes a positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of childbearing women and their families.
“We hope that this guidance will be a useful resource for midwives when providing care for all women, across the range of birth settings and circumstances,” she said.
RCM launches midwifery care in labour guidance