Midwifery and psychological care
Midwives know how multidisciplinary working can provide expertise from a variety of specialties relevant to a woman's care. Alun Jones outlines what psychology research can teach midwives
Midwifery is unquestionably a noble profession. However, in past years, midwifery training and education has arguably overlooked the psychology of childbirth and its impact on parents, families and the midwife.
A recent document by the Royal of Midwives (RCM), concerning standards and competency, states that:
‘Midwives ensure that women have a safe and satisfying pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period. The care that they provide to women, babies and their families is of the utmost importance to our society. The importance of maternal mental health during pregnancy and after birth has gone without the prominence that it deserves for too long.’
While the document will be familiar to midwives, it does not explain how midwives might benefit from a more detailed knowledge of psychological approaches to care. The author noted that the standard of mental health provision for parents and families is varied throughout the UK, and suggested that a local audit framework to assess the quality of mental health provided to both mothers should also include fathers throughout the period of pregnancy and childbirth.
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