The organisation of maternity care

  • Rosemary Currell
Part of the Midwifery Practice book series (MIPRA)


The past 10 years have seen a proliferation of different patterns of maternity care, all aiming to provide women and their babies with safe, efficient care that is emotionally pleasing to them and that meets their social and domestic needs. All those responsible for bringing about a change in the maternity services do so in the belief that this particular change will bring some measure of benefit to women and their families. It should be recognised, however, that the circumstances that have brought each pattern of care into being, and the driving forces that take it forward and bring about its evolution, are all very different and very complex. The driving forces for change in the maternity services include social change, national politics, professional interests, advances in health care and the personal experiences of families and health care professionals. Academic research has its place but may more usually be found as a tool used within one of these arenas rather than as a pressure in its own right. We therefore need to look very carefully at the evidence used to support any particular development or change in the provision of maternity care. We need to consider not only the validity and reliability of the research itself, but also how it is being used, whose arguments and theories it is being used to support, and for what ends.


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© Rosemary Currell 1996

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  • Rosemary Currell

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