Women to have the same midwife throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth. Fantastic news, Jeremy Hunt, Health and Social Care secretary has announced plans today. Midwives and birth workers have been campaigning for this for years and understaffing is causing on going frustration throughout the midwifery profession. This is welcomed news by mums to be, birth partners and all involved in the birth work profession.
The full plan comes into fruition in 2021. The aim is by then that the majority of women to have the same midwive throughout pregnancy, labour & birth. This means that they will receive care from the same midwives throughout pregnancy and birth.
To help achieve this, the NHS plans to train more than 3,000 extra midwives over 4 years. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/women-to-have-dedicated-midwives-throughout-pregnancy-and-birth
Having a dedicated team of midwives who know and understand your story can transform the birth experience for mothers and babies. It gives you the chance to really get to know each other. During birth it can help you feel more relaxed, more confident and also safer.
There are proven medical benefits to knowing your midwife. For women having a straightforward pregnancy at low or medium risk of complications, being looked after in labour by midwives they got to know during pregnancy was found to have a number of medical benefits in the Cochrane Collaboration’s review. The women were:
- less likely to have had an assisted birth, such as a forceps or ventouse birth, and no more likely to have had a caesarean
- less likely to have used an epidural for pain relief
- less likely to have had an episiotomy
- less likely to have lost their baby
- less likely to have given birth to a premature baby
The review didn’t find a simple explanation for why these benefits are associated with being looked after by midwives that you know. Being looked after by midwives rather than doctors was found to reduce the chances of using pain relief which we know can lead to fewer interventions. For example, epidurals can slow labour down which in turn can increase the need for medical interventions to help you give birth to your baby. Therefore, this might be one of the reasons why fewer interventions were experienced by these women who knew the midwives looking after them during pregnancy and birth.
For more information see https://www.which.co.uk/birth-choice/maternity-care/what-are-the-benefits-of-knowing-your-midwife