In this month’s edition of Essentially MIDIRS, Nadine Edwards and Mavis Kirkham explore the rising incidence of women choosing to birth outside of the NHS system within the UK.
Here is a preview of their article, which includes interviews with women who chose to ‘freebirth’, as it is sometimes known.
Why women might not use NHS maternity services – Nadine Edwards & Mavis Kirkham.
“While there are women who, as a first choice, decide that they do not want to engage with maternity services, these women, in our experience, are rare. Most plan births without midwives because they feel they have no other acceptable option. Online discussions suggest that more women are considering avoiding maternity services, and the numbers of women actually giving birth without midwives appear to be increasing (Williams 2012). There is no clear evidence on outcomes for these women, but given they include some women with complications, it would seem helpful to know what these women can tell us about why the services do not meet their needs.
We know something about the struggles women have planning home births when health practitioners do not agree with this (Edwards 2005, Nolan 2011), but we know less about the experiences of women who decide to avoid maternity services, or give up the struggle by simply not calling a midwife in labour. As we are planning to do research on women who choose to avoid NHS maternity services – who ‘freebirth’ as it is sometimes known – we have informally interviewed and collected the stories of five of these women and given them pseudonyms…”
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