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Statement on RCM’s Better Births Initiative

14 August, 2017

Statement on RCM’s Better Births Initiative

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The position of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) on normal birth has been the subject of much attention and discussion in recent days, including in the media. This was as a result of a front page story in The Times on 12 August. This statement clarifies some of the details that were repeated elsewhere in the media and subject to debate on social media.

The RCM discontinued its Normal Birth Campaign three years ago in order to launch a wider Better Births Initiative. In a review of our website in May this year, references to the campaign were removed, as they were out of date.

The Normal Birth Campaign was focused on birth. The Better Births Initiative encompasses pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. The Better Births Initiative seeks to improve care for all women, including those with medical and obstetric complications.

The focus of the Better Births Initiative is to ensure the best birth for all women. One example of this would be to encourage women in labour to remain mobile. Remaining mobile rather than lying on a bed helps labour to progress. Another example would be caring for a woman having a caesarean section ensuring she has skin-to-skin contact with her baby.

The Better Births Initiative provides resources, such as case studies and webinars, to midwives and other members of the maternity care team, to enable them to provide safe care and a good maternity experience for all women and their families.

As is good practice, the RCM started a review of the Better Births Initiative in recent months to ensure it complements maternity care policies around safety and quality that are being developed and implemented in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Additionally, earlier this year the RCM commissioned Professor Helen Spiby and her team at the University of Nottingham to update guidelines for midwifery care in labour. This will include a review of the evidence and recommendations for resources that support midwives to provide safe and effective care to all women.

The RCM is absolutely committed, as it always has been, to ensuring that all women have a safe and satisfying maternity experience.

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