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