There is plenty of good quality research evidence to show that continuity of care from a known midwife, antenatally, during labour and birth and postnatally, has excellent clinical outcomes.
Care from a known midwife reduces stillbirths and premature births.
Mothers receiving this care are more likely to have normal births, less likely to need caesareans and their babies are less likely to be admitted to special care baby units.
This way of providing care improves midwives’ job satisfaction and, once established, is no more expensive that other models of care.
The government report ‘Better Births’ published earlier this year recommended the reorganisation of maternity care so that midwives working in small groups of four to six can provide this model of care.
Recent publicity about the needs of parents after stillbirths in this country and the excellent Sheffield film ‘Still Loved’ show the devastating impact of stillbirth on families.
Sheffield Association of Radical Midwives has campaigned for many years for this ‘personal’ model of care for the women of Sheffield.
Unfortunately the much loved ‘One to One Scheme’ which was organised in this way and ran in part of the city for 14 years was ended in 2010, despite its excellent statistics.
It enabled trusting relationships to develop and mothers to voice their worries and feel cared for by a midwife they know.
Now very few mothers experience this model of continuity of midwifery care.
We are hoping that the ‘Better Births’ report will encourage Sheffield policy makers and commissioners of maternity care to fund the setting up of this model of maternity care once again - for all mothers in Sheffield.
n The film was created by independent Sheffield company Big Buddha, and supported by the national baby charity Tommy’s. It was unveiled at the Showroom Cinema this week. The director, Debbie Howard, is from Sheffield. Visit www.stilllovedfilm.com for details.