Standards and Guidance

Everything you need to help you provide safe and evidence-based maternity care

Blue Top Guidance Programme

The RCM Quality and Standards team have produced a suite of new RCM Blue Top Midwifery Guidance. We are confident that the guidance represents the best established evidence available, being based on recent systematic reviews of 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, which 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 Midwives Magazine very shortly providing information about the development of the guidance. We anticipate that the cycle of three-yearly reviews 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.

The guidance for professionals is available for download, 

The Care in Labour resource for mothers is also published in a section of the Emma’s Diary Guide to Labour & Birth, to support conversations with women.

RCM Evidence Based Guidelines

The RCM Evidence based guidelines for midwifery-led care in labour (2012) are in the process of being updated. The chapters which are still current are available to download below:

  1. Introduction
  2. Birth environment
  3. Understanding pharmacological pain relief
  4. Intermittent auscultation (IA)
  5. Rupturing membranes
  6. Positions for labour and birth
  7. Persistent lateral and posterior fetal positions at the onset of labour
  8. Care of the perineum
  9. Suturing the perineum
  10. Immediate care of the newborn
  11. Early breastfeeding
  12. Guideline development manual 2012

The RCM Standards for Midwifery Services in the UK

These standards outline what the RCM sees as the key features that any midwifery service can use to measure its delivery of compassionate, well-led, professional, evidence-based midwifery care.

RCM Standards for Midwifery Services in the UK


Positions in Labour poster

The poster 'Give it a go, it'll be worth it' is an RCM resource for healthcare professionals working in maternity care. It is available for download in A3 format ready to print for non-commercial use in maternity units and as part of supporting women in labour and birth. Please note that this poster and its content is copyrighted to The Royal College of Midwives.

Below are video demonstrations of different birth positions including positions to be used if connected to a monitor.