Midwife-led continuity models aim to support and care for women through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood with an individual and trusted midwife.
Alternatively, women can choose to receive care through medical-led care where an obstetrician or family physician is responsible for the care of pregnant women. Women can also choose shared-care models, where the responsibility is shared across various healthcare professionals.
According to Cochrane’s research, the outcome showed that midwife-led continuity of care was related to several benefits for woman and child.
Midwife-led continuity of care showed “no adverse effects” in comparison to medical-led and shared-care models.
The research showed that the main benefits of receiving midwife-led continuity of care included fewer episiotomies and a reduction in the number of epidurals, as well as an increase in spontaneous vaginal births.
However, the number of caesarean sections remained unchanged.
Cochrane said, regarding their overall findings: “Women who received midwife-led continuity of care were less likely to experience preterm birth, or lose their baby before 24 weeks’ gestation, and to lose their baby overall, although there was no differences in the risk of losing the baby after 24 weeks.”
Fifteen studies were carried out by Cochrane, involving 17,674 women with high or low risk pregnancies, births or postnatal periods.
The Cochrane review concludes that pregnant women should be offered a midwife-led continuity model of care if there are no substantial medical or obstetric risks.
The full research review can be found on the Cochrane website here.