Advanced Life Support Group. Pre-Obstetric Emergency Training. 2011. (accessed 16 May 2016)

BirthChoiceUK. Home Birth Rates for the Anglia Region. 2013. (accessed 11 May 2016)

Perinatal and maternal outcomes by planned place of birth for healthy women with low risk pregnancies: the Birthplace in England national prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2011; 343

Fereday J, Oster C Managing a work-life balance: the experiences of midwives working in a group practice setting. Midwifery. 2010; 26:(3)311-8

Leeds: HSCIC; 2015

National Maternity Review. 2016. (accessed 11 May 2016)

London: NMC; 2015

Odent MLondon: Pinter and Martin; 2013

Rogers K Skills drills training: the way forward. Midwives. 2007; 10:(5)218-9

Royal College of Midwives. 2010. (accessed 11 May 2016)

London: RCM; 2011

Royal College of Midwives. 2015. (accessed 11 May 2016)

Royal College of Midwives. 2016. (accessed 16 May 2016)

Sibley L, Buffington ST, Beck D, Armbruster D Home based life saving skills: promoting safe motherhood through innovative community-based interventions. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2001; 46:(4)258-66

Sibley L, Buffington ST, Haileyesus D The American College of Nurse-Midwives' home-based lifesaving skills program: a review of the Ethiopia field test. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2004; 49:(4)320-8

Safety of home birth. 2015. (accessed 11 May 2016)

Vedam S, Aaker J, Stoll K Assessing certified nurse-midwives' attitudes towards planned home birth. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2010; 55:(2)133-42

Woodward V, Bates K, Young NBasingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan; 2004

Train together to work together: Reviewing feedback of community-based skills drills training for midwives and paramedics

02 June 2016
Volume 24 · Issue 6


Homebirth is recommended in the UK for women considered low-risk, but homebirth rates remain low. With the aim of enabling women to safely achieve the birth they want, and enabling midwives to support them in this, a community-based skills drills training session was organised by midwives at Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust, and attended by midwives, student midwives, maternity care assistants and paramedics. A questionnaire was given to participants to evaluate the training. A 100% response rate was achieved (n = 36). Results show a positive response from all parties in relation to the setting, which was deemed a more realistic environment for this workforce than that offered by hospital-based training. More funding and research to support this type of training may aid in raising homebirth rates, as well as developing midwives' and paramedics' confidence in dealing with emergencies in such settings.

Skills drills are the accepted format by which health professionals, including midwives, learn and maintain the skills to manage a range of obstetric emergencies (Rogers, 2007). It has been suggested that skills drills training should be inter-professional (Rogers, 2007), and perhaps this ought to be extended outside of the labour ward multidisciplinary setting. This was a point highlighted in the recent National Maternity Review (2016: 10), which stated that ‘those who work together should train together’. Research exploring the benefits of collaborative training would, therefore, be useful. However, such research must be conducted sensitively, assuring practitioners that the information they disclose will be kept confidential, to ensure true representation of opinions and enable further evaluation to provide the most appropriate training initiatives.

The Birthplace Study reviewed more than 64 000 births in the UK, concluding that for multiparous women, there were no significant differences in adverse perinatal outcomes between planned homebirths or midwifery units and planned births in obstetric units (Birthplace in England Collaborative Group, 2011) In fact, these women would have significantly reduced odds of an intrapartum caesarean section, instrumental birth or episiotomy. There is an acknowledged significant increased risk of adverse perinatal outcomes (intrapartum stillbirth, early neonatal death, neonatal encephalopathy, meconium aspiration syndrome, and specified birth-related injuries including brachial plexus injury) for babies of nulliparous mothers in the case of planned homebirth. However, as noted by obstetrician professor, Jim Thornton (2015):

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month