RCM launches midwifery care in labour guidance

By Hollie Ewers on 20 November 2018 Evidence-based guidelines Midwifery

A new set of guidelines has been launched under the RCM’s Midwifery Blue Top Guidance Programme.

Titled Midwifery care in labour guidance for women in all settings the guidance provides midwives with high-quality evidence for caring for women during labour and birth.

It includes new research from the University of Nottingham’s Maternal Health and Wellbeing Research Group, as well as contributions from a multidisciplinary expert advisory group. 

The guidance provides an accessible version of evidence-based recommendations for all aspects of labour and birth, and it’s hoped that it will enable an inclusive approach to support women receiving midwifery care in the UK.

It also emphasises an approach that suggests a woman’s own preferences ahead of giving birth should define the care they receive. This has resulted in the publication of a companion booklet for mothers to support them in discussions with their midwives, so that they have the information to make the right choices for their care.

RCM chief executive Gill Walton said: ‘We are really proud of these new professional guidelines, which will support all midwives in the UK to practise at their level best, and should also encourage and support conversations between midwives and the women they care for, about what the options are for them as individuals.

‘Our gratitude goes to our esteemed colleagues, for their dedicated research and support throughout this project.’

Helen Spiby, professor of midwifery at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘Midwifery care makes a positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of childbearing women and their families. We hope that this guidance will be a useful resource for midwives when providing care for all women, across the range of birth settings and circumstances.’

Access the new guidance here.

The RCM is grateful for the expert professional interest and welcome for the Midwifery care in labour guidance for women in all settings. The RCM is confident that the guidance represents the best established evidence available, being based on recent systematic reviews on each topic. 

The RCM commissioned a team from the University of Nottingham, led by Professor Helen Spiby, to produce the guidance with input from an Expert Advisory Group that included midwives, service user groups, obstetric, paediatric and anaesthetic experts and other academics. Peer reviews were carried out by members of different constituencies of the midwifery community and others.

The guidance team will be publishing papers detailing the philosophy behind the work, methods and the four new systematic reviews over the next few months. There will also be a piece in the next issue of Midwives providing information about the development of the guidance. We anticipate that the cycle of three yearly review of this guidance will enable the incorporation of new trials and other studies, as they will hopefully be included in the updates to the Cochrane, JBI and other systematic reviews. In the meantime, we are carefully considering all feedback to ensure clarity of meaning in specific areas.