Each quarter we select an article from the current Digest that we feel is particularly pertinent to contemporary maternity care and highlight it here. If you don’t already subscribe to the Digest you can buy it for only £3.99, but don’t forget, if you subscribe to the Reference Database then sign in here to view all the Digest original aticles for free. This month our featured article is:
Birthing without a midwife: a literature review
by Nadine Edwards, AIMS Vice Chair and Mavis Kirkham, Professor of Midwifery at the University of the West of Scotland.
In this issue’s Hot Topic Nadine Edwards and Mavis Kirkham discuss why women give birth without midwives, drawing on literature from the UK and elsewhere. Despite maternity services being widely available, for a variety of reasons some women actively decide to avoid them. We do not know how many women are birthing without midwives, but discussions between women on websites are proliferating. Many of the women who avoid maternity services do so because they believe that these services are too medicalised, because they believe they can give birth most easily in private, listening to their bodies. Sometimes it is because they have had previous traumatic experiences which they do not want to repeat. Some women are unable to organise the care they feel they need, and thus feel abandoned and forced to birth without a midwife. Women who ‘freebirth’ have generally thought about this very carefully:
‘Most literature finds that women do not see birth as risk free, rather, “it always has an element of risk”, that hospitals have their own risks (including infections), and that interference and interventions pose their own risks to mothers and babies. Researchers find that women planning births without midwives are concerned about their and their families’ emotional well-being, and that some women describe the healing and empowering impact of a joyful birth, especially after a previous traumatic birth or experience.’
Photo Credit: Becky Reed
Related Search Pack
Support and company in labour Learn more