Looking back – a midwife’s reflection of her career

By Angela McBennett   A note to start…. It seems that in the ‘blink of an eye’, 27 years have flown by as I retire from general midwifery. My memories of midwifery will always be forever in my heart. Pregnancy and birth is a unique time in a family’s life and, as a midwife, we […]

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Attending the UK UNICEF Baby Friendly Conference 2017 – my thoughts!

By Rachel Evans, 3rd Year student midwife, Swansea University   As a self confessed breastfeeding geek, the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Conference is one of my dream gatherings. I was fortunate enough to receive a grant from the Swansea University Student Midwifery Society enabling me to attend the 2017 conference. It was great to […]

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Relationship-based continuity of carer: informed choice for mothers AND midwives

There can be no doubt that we should be implementing relationship-based continuity of carer for most women and their babies. The evidence has been mounting over years and is compelling: there are few developments that offer so much benefit, with fewer risks (See http://www.gtc.ox.ac.uk/images/stories/academic/skp_report.pdf). It is difficult to understand why this evidence is still seen […]

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navigating spaces:


fetal navigation techniques “I turned my OP baby and regulated my own contractions in an hour, directly avoiding induction and possibly other interventions. This was my second labour, which from this point on flowed smoothly to a physiological birth in just a few hours. My first baby had also started labour in a less than […]

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The birth of our humanity

  ‘A child is born’ …and then? How will that life unfold? Will this baby be well and healthy at birth, with a mother who has been wrapped around in loving care, not only in her childhood and life, but also in pregnancy, labour, birth and the early weeks of life? Will this baby be […]

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Articles - Advancing Practice

Advancing Practice: Facilitating Group Antenatal Care – A New Way Of Working

ADVANCING PRACTICE Facilitating group antenatal care: a new way of working This article outlines the principles and evidence behind group antenatal care and explores how developing group facilitation skills can enhance midwifery practice. The authors discuss the impact of different training models developed by the REACH pregnancy programme to support the implementation of ‘Pregnancy Circles’ […]

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Women’s Voices: Surrogacy. The Dream Of Parenthood

WOMEN’S VOICES Surrogacy. The dream of parenthood Women’s Voices is an occasional series that captures the reflections, recommendations and reviews of those who work within or use maternity care services. Sharing the perspectives and experiences of women, partners, families and maternity workers helps to explore what really matters in the everyday, life-changing moments of childbearing, […]

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Global Midwifery Matters: 3. Promoting Continuity Of Care And Autonomy For Midwives In New Zealand

GLOBAL MIDWIFERY MATTERS 3. Promoting continuity of care and autonomy for midwives in New Zealand This article discusses the history of midwifery in New Zealand, exploring the initiation of the New Zealand Amendment Act 1990, leading to the renewed autonomy of midwives. It also looks at how the lead maternity carer in New Zealand harnesses […]

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Specialist clinics can reduce pregnancy risks for obese women

Specialist clinics can reduce pregnancy risks for obese women Research published by the University of Edinburgh says that specialist antenatal clinics for severely obese pregnant women help cut rates of pregnancy complications, and that women who received the specialist care were eight times less likely to have a stillbirth. Research published by the University of Edinburgh says that […]

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Empower: Empowering Mothers, Providing Options With Education And Relaxation

EMPOWER: Empowering mothers, providing options with education and relaxation Most women within their lifetime will experience pregnancy, birth and motherhood. Despite this almost universal experience, the process is far from uniform. Throughout the childbirth continuum, expectations and experiences of women are diverse and ever-changing (van Teijlingen et al 2017). This article explores an innovative idea, […]

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Barriers to implementing diagnostic domestic violence screening

Barriers to implementing diagnostic domestic violence screening In the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States of America and Europe, universal and routine screening for domestic violence is recommended for pregnant women, extending into the postnatal period. However, the lack of self-confidence among midwives and midwifery students in implementing diagnostic domestic violence screening, is consistent within […]

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Taking the plunge: the benefits of aquanatal exercise

Taking the plunge: the benefits of aquanatal exercise In this article, Anita Johnson carried out an interview with Cathy Charles, a midwife and aquanatal teacher in Wiltshire, to explore the benefits of aquanatal exercise in pregnancy and the postnatal period; this is particularly pertinent at a time when there is a focus on mental wellbeing […]

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A midwifery approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health in pregnancy

A midwifery approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health in pregnancy Mental health and emotional wellbeing in pregnancy and early motherhood are important issues for women all over the world, with poorer women suffering the most. In Nepal the maternal mortality rate is around 258/100,000 compared with the UK’s 9/100,000. However, the proportion of women […]

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Fathers’ views of learning infant CPR in antenatal education classes

Fathers’ views of learning infant CPR in antenatal education classes Infant CPR is not generally incorporated into antenatal classes for expectant women and their partners. The skills of infant CPR are normally taught where infants have cardiac and other conditions that may put them at increased risk. This article reports on the views of expectant […]

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Articles - Basics

Antenatal care: 7. Testing for diabetes in pregnancy

MIDWIFERY BASICS Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing 7. Testing for diabetes in pregnancy ‘Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing’ is the 10th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ targeted at both students and practicing midwives who wish to update. The series aims to raise awareness of the needs of women during their childbearing experience. The reader […]

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Articles - Basics

Antenatal care: Alcohol and pregnancy: a dangerous cocktail

MIDWIFERY BASICS Antenatal care Alcohol and pregnancy: a dangerous cocktail Women have diverse attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Contradictory views about the risks associated with alcohol intake influence consumption levels. Many women do not receive detailed advice from healthcare professionals. The woman’s assessment of risk is hindered by the contradictory advice from […]

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Articles - Basics

Antenatal care: 6. Blood tests for investigating pre-eclampsia

MIDWIFERY BASICS Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing 6. Blood tests for investigating pre-eclampsia Pre-eclampsia complicates between 2 per cent and 8 per cent of pregnancies, and safe care for mother and baby depends on early recognition of signs and symptoms, as well as timely investigation and referral. An understanding of the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia […]

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Articles - Basics

Antenatal care: 5. Testing for sexually transmitted infections in pregnancy

MIDWIFERY BASICS Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing 5. Testing for sexually transmitted infections in pregnancy ‘Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing’ is the 10th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ and is targeted at both students and practising midwives who wish to update their knowledge. The series aims to raise awareness of the needs of women […]

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Articles - Basics

Antenatal care: How midwives can help with perinatal depression

MIDWIFERY BASICS How midwives can help with perinatal depression In 2011 a national children’s charity led a campaign that identified why help with postnatal depression (PND) needed to improve; however PND remains a huge problem. Numerous cases are still coming to light where a mother has not sought help nor has been given adequate support, […]

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Articles - Advancing Practice

Antenatal Care: Advancing maternal age and trisomy screening

ADVANCING PRACTICE Antenatal care Advancing maternal age and trisomy screening: the practice challenges of facilitating choice and gaining consent Antenatal screening for chromosomal anomalies such as Trisomy 13, 18 and 21 (Patau’s, Edward’s and Down’s syndrome, respectively) is offered to all pregnant women in the first two trimesters. This article explores the varying considerations of […]

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Articles - Evidence

Research Unwrapped – Continuity of care: what matters to women when they are referred from primary to secondary care during labour?

EVIDENCE Research Unwrapped Continuity of care: what matters to women when they are referred from primary to secondary care during labour? A qualitative interview study in the Netherlands – Ank de Jonge, Rosan Stuijt, Iva Eijke, and Marjan J Westerman (2014). BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14: 103 Research unwrapped is a popular series to help […]

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Developing specialist perinatal mental health services

Perinatal mental illness (PMI) represents a significant public health concern affecting considerable numbers of pregnant women and mothers of infants. Depression and anxiety are key issues; however accurate identification of PMI, suitable intervention and provision of adequate services are salient contemporary challenges. Coherence in the commissioning of PMI services, appropriate and contextually sensitive to the […]

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How midwives can help with perinatal depression

In 2011 a national children’s charity led a campaign that identified why help with postnatal depression (PND) needed to improve; however PND remains a huge problem. Numerous cases are still coming to light where a mother has not sought help or has not been given adequate support, with disastrous consequences. Why is this still happening […]

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Striving for better maternal mental health

Mental health is an integral part of health and a state of wellbeing. The concept of ‘parity of esteem’ increases awareness that mental health needs to be treated as seriously as physical health. During the childbirth continuum, women and their partners can be at increased risk of mental health problems; therefore it is important to […]

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Too afraid to push: dealing with fear of childbirth

Maternal request for caesarean section in the absence of medical need is an ethical and moral dilemma for the NHS. When a woman makes such a request it requires careful exploration of the underlying motivation. Many of these women will be anxious or fearful of giving birth and require tailored support. The provision of an […]

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Perinatal mental health: midwives and health visitors working together

The Healthy Child Programme (HCP) focuses on the care offered to pregnant women and children in the first five years of life. It is delivered by a range of professionals, with the health visitor as lead. Effective delivery of the HCP depends on services for children and families being fully integrated, and partnership working between […]

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Being fit in pregnancy

FEATURE The Practising Midwife – February 2014 Being fit in pregnancy There is a substantial body of evidence to suggest that exercise during pregnancy is not only safe but beneficial, yet many women remain unsure about what exercise is appropriate or indeed whether it is safe to exercise at all, opting instead for inactivity. The […]

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Community care: added value at no extra cost

FEATURE The Practising Midwife – February 2014 ‘Community care: added value at no extra cost In a difficult economic climate it is not always possible to restructure or resource existing services run by community midwives. However, it is possible to create and carry through small projects at little cost that improve continuity of care and […]

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Research Unwrapped: ‘Potential effects of chocolate on human pregnancy: a randomised controlled trial’

FEATURE The Practising Midwife – February 2014 ‘Potential effects of chocolate on human pregnancy: a randomised controlled trial’ Research unwrapped is a popular series to help readers make sense of published research by undertaking a detailed appraisal of an article in a careful and considered manner. Contemporary midwifery care seeks to implement evidence based practice. […]

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Midwives caring for asylum-seeking women: research findings

FEATURE The Practising Midwife – January 2014 Midwives caring for asylum-seeking women: research findings Over the past decade, the numbers of women seeking asylum in the United Kingdom (UK) and requiring midwifery care have increased significantly (Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2012). This article describes findings from a small study that explored the experiences of […]

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