Ce mes­sage est dif­fusé par Bev­er­ley Beech, prési­dente d’AIMS (Asso­ci­a­tion for Improve­ments in the Mater­ni­ty Services)

From: “Bev­er­ley Beech”

Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 17:23:44 ‑0000

Dear All.

The Nurs­ing and Mid­wifery Coun­cil has today pub­lished a cir­cu­lar about the midwife’s respon­si­bil­i­ties for home birth. You can get a full copy from the Nurs­ing and Mid­wifery Coun­cil web site (go to Cir­cu­lars and Cir­cu­lar 8–2000). The fol­low­ing are some key statements:

Mid­wives are experts in nor­mal birth and the NMC’s stan­dards require them to be com­pe­tent to sup­port women to give birth nor­mal­ly in a vari­ety of set­tings includ­ing in the home.

Whilst a mid­wife must not pro­vide care that she is not com­pe­tent to give, it is not accept­able to refuse to care for a woman on this basis and take no fur­ther action.

(So that should put a stop to those mid­wives who say “you can­not have a home water birth because I do not do them.”)

Research over the last cou­ple of decades sug­gests that home birth is at least as safe as hos­pi­tal-based birth for healthy women with nor­mal pregnancies.

Mid­wives may have some anx­i­eties if there is a clash of a woman’s choice ver­sus the per­ceived risks of car­ing for women in a home set­ting. If there is a clash then the mid­wife must con­tin­ue to give care but can seek sup­port by dis­cussing her anx­i­ety with her super­vi­sor of midwives.

It is a midwife’s duty to make all options and choic­es clear and to respect the choic­es a woman makes if she is legal­ly com­pe­tent to make that choice.

Whilst an employed mid­wife has a con­trac­tu­al duty to their employ­er, she also has a pro­fes­sion­al duty to pro­vide mid­wifery care for women. A mid­wife would be pro­fes­sion­al­ly account­able for any deci­sion to leave a woman in labour at home unat­tend­ed, thus plac­ing her at risk at a time when com­pe­tent mid­wifery care is essential.

Should a con­flict arise between ser­vice pro­vi­sion and a woman’s choice for place of birth, a mid­wife has a duty of care to attend her.

Women have the right to make their own deci­sion on these issues if they are com­pe­tent to do so and mid­wives have a duty of care to respect a woman’s choice.

Spread this around as wide­ly as pos­si­ble, I am off to have a cel­e­bra­to­ry gin and tonic.

Yours, Bev­er­ley