Maternity Care in the UK: Revising and maintaining a system 'fit for purpose' in the 21st century
Over the last 70 years, there have been enormous changes in the content and provision of maternity care and the profile of women using maternity services in the UK. Policy directives to move place of birth from home to hospital from the 1970s onwards, based on the assumption of safety, meant that in 2017 only 2% of births took place in a woman's home. This is despite more recent policy recommendations that women should be able to choose place of birth and that more women should be able to access free standing and alongside midwifery-led birth centers.
Debra Bick will reflect the historical context of midwifery and maternity care in the UK and some of the current issues facing NHS services, including poorer health of women who become pregnant. She will consider evidence of the longer-term impacts of pregnancy and birth on women's life-course health, the importance of care pre- and post-pregnancy, and how research programs are hoping to improve birth outcomes.
Bick is a professor of midwifery and maternal health in the Department of Women and Children's Health, King's College London. She has represented midwifery on several major policy groups, recommendations of which are helping to re-frame the organization and content of maternity care in the UK. Her research has been used to inform the evidence base for maternity care internationally, and work she has led is informing a number of online learning resources for midwives and obstetricians nationally and internationally.