The 2011 State of the World’s Midwifery report identified gaps crucial gaps in current knowledge around the development and implementation of the midwifery model of care. The Lancet Series on Midwifery was proposed by Richard Horton (Editor) as a means to analyse and better understand the midwifery model of care by drawing on clinical, social science, and specialist midwifery literature. The Special Series aims to identify the barriers to the widespread implementation of the midwifery model of care and to identify effective strategies for use by policy makers in all settings.

The Series, produced by an international group of academics, clinicians, professional midwives, policymakers and advocates for women and children, is the most critical, wide-reaching examination of midwifery ever conducted. It shows the scale of the positive impact that can be achieved when effective, high-quality midwifery is available to all women and their babies. Apart from saving lives, it also improves their continuing health and wellbeing and has other long-lasting benefits.

The authors also produce evidence of a trend towards the overmedicalisation of pregnancy, and the use of unnecessary interventions such as caesarean sections, in high-income and lower-income countries, with consequent hazards and costs.

According to one of the Series authors, Petra ten Hoope-Bender, of ICS Integrare:
“Although the level and type of risks related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum and the early weeks of life differ between countries and settings, the need to implement effective, sustainable, and affordable improvements in the quality of care is common to all, and midwifery is pivotal to this approach. However, it is important to understand that to be most effective, a midwife must have access to a functioning health-care service, and for her work to be respected, and integrated with other health-care professionals; the provision of health care and midwifery services must be effectively connected across communities and health- care facilities.”

ICS Integrare was actively engaged in the development, research and launch of the Lancet Series on Midwifery, including the role of Petra ten Hoope-Bender as the Series Coordinator. The co-authors of the Lancet Series on Midwifery participated in a Writing Workshop in Barcelona on 29 June – 6 July 2012, co-ordinated by ICS Integrare. Please click for more photos from the working sessions.

Read more about the Lancet Series on Midwifery in our blog!

The University of York is Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s grantee and ICS Integrare is a sub-grantee of the University of York for the Project.

Resources

 Lancet Series on Midwifery

 The Lancet Series in the Huffington Post Blog

Press release: Global collaboration aims to improve maternal and newborn health. June 2012