Putting women at centre of care says RCM publishing induction of labour guidance for midwives

on 10 October 2019 Safety Induction Women's Choice

New guidance for midwives around induction of labour (IOL) has been published today by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). The guidance has been developed by a team at the University of Nottingham.

The guidance provides a summarised version of systematically produced evidence for aspects of midwifery care related to IOL. The aim is to help midwives support women in making decisions around induction of labour and ensuring they have the best information about the options available to them to make truly informed choices knowing the risks and benefits.

Almost a third of women in the UK had their labours induced in 2018 and the number of inductions has also risen by 60 per cent over the last decade. There is also a wide degree of variation in induction rates across maternity units.

Underlying the guidance is the belief that midwifery care makes a significant difference to the experiences of women. The recommendations in the guidance are focused on the induction process itself not the specific reasons for the induction taking place.

It stresses that midwives will need to adapt and use professional judgement in using the guidance. This is because the individual needs of women will vary. Working in partnership with women midwives will use the guidance as a basis for discussing the woman’s care. Women’s own views, preferences and choices should always be taken into account and women should always be treated as individuals says the guidance.

In the guidance are evidence based recommendations for midwifery practice. Among those are the recommendation that ‘Midwives should ensure women and their families know that they have a choice about having an induction of labour’.

A number of Good Practice Points are also highlighted in the guidance. They include:

  • Midwives should discuss with women how an induction may impact on their experiences and perceptions of pain.
  • Organisations should provide education and resources to support midwives to communicate the absolute and relative risks associated with induction in a clear and understandable way.

Commenting from the guidance development team at the University of Nottingham, Professor Helen Spiby said; “We hope that this guidance will help midwives in their essential role of providing accessible and timely advice and support to women in this important aspect of maternity care.”

To support midwives’ use of the guidance the RCM has also produced an ‘Implementation and Audit Toolkit

Commenting on the guidance, Birte Harlev-Lam, Executive Director for Professional Leadership at the Royal College of Midwives said: "This is important guidance for midwives. Women can feel pressured into having an induction and it is so important that they make the decision that is right for them, their pregnancy and their labour. It is also very crucial that women know that they have a choice about having an induction of labour.

“This guidance will give midwives the tools and information to have discussions with women about their care and support them in their decision making.

“We need to improve women’s experience of induction. We know that some say they feel powerless to challenge medical decisions and that they did not have the information they needed about their options. This is all about empowering women and putting them at the centre of care.”

The Royal College of Midwives ‘Midwifery care for Induction of Labour’ can be read at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/3552/midwifery-care-for-induction-of-labour-a4-2019-16pp_2.pdf . The ‘Implementation and Audit Toolkit’ can be read at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/3553/midwifery-care-for-induction-of-labour-implementation-and-audit-toolkit-a4-2019-24pp_4.pdf.

ENDS

To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected] 

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

 

 

ENDS

The Royal College of Midwives ‘Midwifery care for Induction of Labour’ can be read at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/3552/midwifery-care-for-induction-of-labour-a4-2019-16pp_2.pdf . The ‘Implementation and Audit Toolkit’ can be read at https://www.rcm.org.uk/media/3553/midwifery-care-for-induction-of-labour-implementation-and-audit-toolkit-a4-2019-24pp_4.pdf.

To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected] 

 

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

ENDS

 

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