Removing babies from mothers at birth: Midwives' experiences

02 September 2014
11 min read
Volume 22 · Issue 9

Abstract

It is evident from a review of the literature that looking after the psychological and emotional needs of women who have their baby removed at birth is a vital part of midwifery care in the childbirth continuum. This review reports on the experiences of midwives who have provided care and emotional support to mothers who have had their baby removed at birth and the challenges they have encountered from doing so. BNI, CINAHL, EMBASE, Google Scholar, Maternity and Infant Care and PsycInfo were searched for articles published until January 2014 and findings suggest that providing care and emotional support to women who have had their babies removed at birth remains one of the most challenging aspects of contemporary midwifery practice. It is anticipated that this study will raise awareness of the challenges associated with providing care and emotional support for women whose babies have been removed at birth and contribute to the evidence base for best practice.

Midwives provide a universal service, their knowledge and expertise in assessing and monitoring the health and wellbeing of a pregnant woman and her unborn baby means that they have an important role to play in all stages of family support and child protection. The requirement to visit new babies at home means that midwives are ideally placed to identify any needs or familial stresses, without the negative connotations often associated with receiving services from other agencies, such as social care (Solon, 2013). Midwives may be required to provide ‘intrapartum care to women whose previous history warrants the infant's removal at birth’ (Powell, 2007: 63) and while this is acknowledged as a vital part of midwifery care in the childbirth continuum, it is reported to be one of the most challenging aspects of clinical practice (Powell, 2007).

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