By Nadine Edwards
Luke Zander opened the conference by telling those present that the purpose of the various fora set up by the RSM was to bring different voices into debates about specific topics and move away from the concept of expert/audience. Interestingly only the Maternity and Newborn Forum (set up in 1983) has survived, I suspect largely to do with Luke's passion and his interest in and respect for others' views.
Michel Odent gave an excellent presentation about how current research is challenging outdated views and practices. For example, we now know about the need for immediate emotional and physical contact between mother and baby after birth in order to promote bonding and health giving microbial transfer, and about the harmful impacts of unnecessary prelabour caesarean section and uterotonics. He stressed that the birthing woman cannot be 'helped', as birth is an involuntary process, but that she must be protected from inhibitory factors.
Becky Reed, Kathryn Gutteridge and Becky Brien then described models of midwifery care that do just this – in the case of the Albany Practice and the Serenity and Halcyon Birth Centres – spectacularly well. Susan Bewley continued the theme describing the skilled doctor as one rooted in relationships and life-long learning and urged us to move away from risk and blame. Cathy Warwick also advised a move away from rule bound practice and focusing on single issues – trying to 'fix' them, towards relationships and thoughtful care. Elizabeth Prochaska agreed that the only way to improve care is through social models of maternity care. Being 'stuck in a risk matrix' prevents improvement and destroys clinicians' abilities to provide good, individualised care and undermines women's decision making.
She suggested ways in which human rights can support women and midwives. Commissioner of maternity services, Diane Jones, gave an in-depth presentation on the extremely complicated commissioning structures which by comparison demonstrated why we need a publicly funded NHS with structures that support the care we know works, improves outcomes and is what women and midwives want: structures that local communities can feed into developing and that are understandable and fully accountable. The current commissioning system supports a fragmented, private system of health care. It cannot possibly support the kind of integrated care described by Becky, Kathryn and Becky, that all women need.
The AIMS Journal spearheads discussions about change and development in the maternity services..
AIMS Journal articles on the website go back to 1960, offering an important historical record of maternity issues over the past 60 years. Please check the date of the article because the situation that it discusses may have changed since it was published. We are also very aware that the language used in many articles may not be the language that AIMS would use today.
To contact the editors, please email: email@example.com
We make the AIMS Journal freely available so that as many people as possible can benefit from the articles. If you found this article interesting please consider supporting us by becoming an AIMS member or making a donation. We are a small charity that accepts no commercial sponsorship, in order to preserve our reputation for providing impartial, evidence-based information. You can make donations at Peoples Fundraising. To become an AIMS member or join our mailing list see Join AIMS
AIMS supports all maternity service users to navigate the system as it exists, and campaigns for a system which truly meets the needs of all.
AIMS Journal, 2023, Vol 35, No 4 Editor’s note: AIMS is honoured to present Mariamni’s research study in which she interviews 10 women who gave birth without a healthcare…Read more
AIMS Journal, 2023, Vol 35, No 4 Interview by Alex Smith Hello Rebecca, thank you for agreeing to answer some questions about your work with Make Birth Better. I wonder i…Read more
AIMS Journal, 2023, Vol 35, No 4 Editor’s note: This is a fictional account of the state of mind of a mother suffering postnatal illness. As such, it is a powerful and di…Read more
‘The Foundation Stones for Supporting the Physiological Process in Pregnancy and Birth’ is led by Alex Smith (AIMS Journal Editor and Helpline volunteer) supported by Deb…Read more
Join us for the an interactive online AIMS workshop " Focus on Resolution " with Dr Rebecca Moore . Rebecca who is a Consultant Psychiatrist and founding member of Make B…Read more
This conference will discuss next steps for NICE in delivering innovation and supporting clinical practice in health and social care in England. It is bringing stakeholde…Read more
AIMS Campaigns Team volunteers are presenting a poster about our campaign for Physiology-Informed Maternity Services at the 2023 conference of the British Intrapartum Car…Read more
This is a review of the paper (https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1004259%20 ) published on July 20, 2023 by researchers at St George’…Read more
The evidence on whether there is a benefit in inducing labour if a pregnancy would otherwise last beyond 41 or 42 weeks is far from clear. 1 The SWEPIS study 2 , publishe…Read more