The Maternity Review 2016
When outlining what women said they wanted from their maternity services this is what they said:
* What we heard from women and their families Safe and personalised care
* 3.2. Women and families whom we spoke to or who contacted the review through another route told us that they want to access maternity services that are safe and that keep them as safe as possible. They understand that birth is not risk-free, but that advances made over the last decades in medicine and healthcare have made giving birth safer than it has ever been.
* 3.3. We also heard equally strongly that women want to be able to choose the care that is right for them, their family and their circumstances, and that they want the care to wrap around them. They understand that there are finite resources, however they expect that their needs are able to be supported. We were told that women do not always feel like the choice is theirs and that too often they felt pressurised by their midwives and obstetricians to make choices that fitted their services. They resented the implications for their care of being labelled high, medium or low risk. Above all, women wanted to be listened to: about what they want for themselves and their baby, and to be taken seriously when they raise concerns.
* 3.4. Women told us how important it was for them to know and form a relationship with the professionals caring for them. They preferred to be cared for by one midwife or a small team of midwives throughout the maternity journey. It was felt that this could provide better support for women, and enable midwives to better meet their needs, identify problems and provide a safer service. Continuity was also important for obstetric care, especially after a traumatic experience.
A good summary of the many areas of challenge that birth professionals face as we seek consensus moving forward.
Woman understanding that birth is not risk free, but they dislike the ‘high and low risk’ labels that are attached to them from day one.
The balance between understanding the ‘risks’ that are present, but at the same time wanting to be at the center of care which is tailored to suit them, not the service that’s providing the care, is clear.
As I watch the ‘social media’ discussion from ‘both sides’ of the the debate it seems to me that in the evidence to The Review women have the ‘balance’ about right; something that can not always be said for the debaters in Twitter land.