The new standards were announced at the Midwifery Unit Network Conference in London on Tuesday 10 July 2018, which aim to guide midwives, managers and commissioners across Europe in creating and developing midwifery units that provide safe and cost-effective maternity care.
The 29 standards and 10 themes, endorsed by the European Midwives Association (EMA), focus on the philosophy of care and organisation of services, women’s pathway of care and leadership.
The standards aim to provide a robust framework for quality improvement and facilitate the advancement of midwifery-led units and to scale up their implementation.
President of the International Confederation of Midwives, Franka Cadée, said: “If midwives, other healthcare professionals and policymakers can show leadership in Europe in developing the kind of services these standards represent, this will be a powerful model and incentive for change in low-income countries across the world.”
More than five million women give birth in Europe each year, but while improvements to maternity care and more well-educated midwives have been implemented, there are still inequalities in access to women’s health care.
MUNet Executive Manager and Research Fellow at City, University of London, Mary Newburn, added: “There is huge potential to develop more birth centres run by midwives, called ‘midwifery units’ in our new document, following the Birthplace in England study and NICE.
“I am in no doubt that when women have the opportunity to find out about and arrange their care in freestanding or an alongside midwifery unit, hundreds of thousands of women in the UK and across Europe will jump at the chance.
“But it is essential that they receive relevant information early in pregnancy, have a chance to visit the facilities, and to talk to others who have had this kind of care.”
Keep up to date with the latest research and news from MIDIRS by subscribing to our quarterly academic journal. Subscribe to MIDIRS Midwifery Digest