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The Lancet: Midwifery matters “more than ever”

23 June 2014

Press Office

UCLan professor shares world-leading research

Every year, nearly 300,000 women are thought to die during pregnancy, childbirth or soon after. About 2.6 million women suffer stillbirths, and 2.9 million infants die in the first month of life.

According to a major new Series, published in The Lancet today, midwives play a vital role in saving lives of women and infants worldwide but it is said that focus is needed by midwives and health system interventions to improve maternal, newborn and child health outcomes.

Professor Soo Downe from University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) today discusses world-leading research on midwifery at a major international conference at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The research focuses on the scale of the positive impact that can be achieved when effective, high-quality midwifery is available to all women and their babies.

"For the first time ever we at UCLan have been able to show that maternity services that are designed around what women and their babies need and want, provide the best solution to the problem of both high levels of maternal and infant mortality"

Professor Soo Downe, Professor in Midwifery Studies at UCLan, said: “For the first time ever we at UCLan have been able to show that maternity services that are designed around what women and their babies need and want, provide the best solution to the problem of both high levels of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and high levels of unnecessary routine technical interventions in childbirth. Midwifery is the key.

Research conducted shows how maternity services that provide a positive and enabling environment for educated, skilled, and regulated midwives, support workers and medical staff are most likely to generate respectful relationships within and between staff and women using the service, and optimum care provision and outcomes for all concerned.”

The Series will be launched on Monday 23 June, at a special event held at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK. For more details please see: http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/events/2014/06/launch-of-the-lancet-midwifery-series