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A woman's cry for her midwife

02 May 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 5


Two years on from the launch of the National Maternity Review's Better Births document, Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE provides a unique reflection of her 30-year midwifery career

As I reflect on my midwifery experience over the past 30 years, I am reminded of the privileged role of the midwife and my personal experiences of providing continuity of carer, supporting vulnerable women during pregnancy, birth and postnatally.

As we enter the third year of implementing the recommendations of Better Births (National Maternity Review, 2016), and focus on transforming services to support the provision of continuity of carer, I am reminded of women's experiences of continuity of carer at different stages of my career as a caseload midwife, lead midwife for education, consultant midwife, and Director of Midwifery. Evidence shows that health outcomes are improved where midwifery continuity of carer is provided antenatally, during labour and postnatally (Sandall et al, 2016), yet my reflections remain focused on the significance of relational continuity. Described as a therapeutic relationship of the service user with one or more health professionals over time (Saultz and Lochner, 2005), I ponder on the uniqueness of the midwife's role at such a time as this, and share this poem, entitled A Woman's Cry for her Midwife. This is the combined maternity experiences of three women, whose feedback remains with me today.

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