Resources

MUNet aims to promote and support the implementation, development and growth of midwifery units. We want midwifery units to become the main care pathway for healthy women with straightforward pregnancies.

Midwifery Unit Standards
Midwifery Unit Standards

The aim of the Midwifery Unit Standards is to improve the quality of maternity care, reduce variability of practices and facilitate a bio-psycho-social model of care. They address the guidance gap in implementation...
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Midwifery Unit Network: First Three Years
Midwifery Unit Network: First Three Years

This report, prepared for our London 2018 conference, celebrates what we have achieved during our first three years and describes our plans for the future. It sets out our latest vision, mission and values....
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Last Updated13th July 2020

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Midwifery Unit Standards
Midwifery Unit Standards

The aim of the Midwifery Unit Standards is to improve the quality of maternity care, reduce variability of practices and facilitate a bio-psycho-social model of care. They address the guidance gap in implementation...
Size2.03 MB
Downloaded8311 times
Last Updated29th July 2020

Download

Midwifery Unit Network: First Three Years
Midwifery Unit Network: First Three Years

This report, prepared for our London 2018 conference, celebrates what we have achieved during our first three years and describes our plans for the future. It sets out our latest vision, mission and values....
Size3.26 MB
Downloaded77 times
Last Updated13th July 2020

Download

Policy

Philosophy of care and policy on midwifery unit care
Philosophy of care and policy on midwifery unit care

This policy research briefing sets out what is meant by a midwifery unit and some of the history and philosophy behind midwifery unit care. It describes how midwifery-led units have been established in...
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Last Updated10th October 2018

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Evidence of clinical effectiveness
Evidence of clinical effectiveness

This policy research briefing provides a summary of the clinical effectiveness associated with midwifery unit care in England, and comments on the extent to which research in England is transferable to...
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Last Updated10th October 2018

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Better Births: Improving outcomes of maternity services in England.
A Five Year Forward View for maternity care. NHS England 2016

The report of a major consultation and review of maternity services in England and Wales, published in 2016.

NCT Policy Briefing: midwife-led units, community maternity units and birth centres, NCT 2011

NCT is a UK charity providing information and support to parents. This document discusses the social model of care, the environment and facilities available in birth centres, and who can book care in a birth centre. It summarises latest outcomes evidence associated with both freestanding and alongside midwifery units, including costs and cost effectiveness.

Quality Standards

Quality Standard for Intrapartum Care, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2015

This quality standard, produced by the English National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) describes high-quality care in priority areas. It covers the care of women and their babies during labour and immediately after the birth and includes women who go into labour at term, women at low risk of complications during labour and those who go on to develop complications.

The Birthplace In England research programme and related studies

The Birthplace in England Research Programme. National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, 2012

The strongest evidence we have to date on the safety of different planned places of birth in England. The Birthplace cohort study compared the safety of births planned in four settings: home, freestanding midwifery units (FMUs), alongside midwifery units (AMUs) and obstetric units (OUs). The main findings relate to healthy women with straightforward pregnancies who meet the NICE intrapartum care guideline criteria for a ‘low risk’ birth.

The Birthplace in England Research Programme Prospective Cohort Study

The findings of the national prospective cohort study component of the Birthplace in England Research Programme, comparing perinatal outcomes, maternal outcomes, and interventions in labour by planned place of birth at the start of care in labour for women with low risk pregnancies.

Birthplace qualitative organisational case studies: how maternity care systems may affect the provision of care in different birth settings

A large ethnographic study of birth in four NHS Trusts England, including staff experiences of work and women and their partners’ experiences of birth in midwifery units.

An ethnographic organisational study of alongside midwifery units

A ethnographic study focussing on the organisation, care and user experiences in four Alongside Midwifery Units in England.

What makes alongside midwifery-led units? Lessons from a national research project
What makes alongside midwifery-led units? Lessons from a national research project

A summary, written for midwives, of the findings from the organisational case studies of alongside midwifery units. This short article outlines practical suggestions for what may help AMUs function effectively. ...
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Last Updated10th October 2018

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Published Research

General

The first comprehensive published book on Birth Centres, this book discusses the issues surrounding birth centres in England using the Edgware Birth Centre as a case study, and birth centres across the world.

Reference: Kirkham M (2003) Birth centres: a social model for maternity care. Books for Midwives.

An ethnographic study of a freestanding midwifery unit in an English town.

Reference: Walsh D (2006) ‘Improving Maternity Services: the epidemiologically based needs assessment reviews, Vol 2: Small is Beautiful – lessons from a birth centre’. CRC Press

Service Users

This short article gives practical suggestions to practitioners on supporting women to make decisions about place of birth.

Reference: Coxon, K. (2012) ‘Making evidence about risks and benefits accessible to parents’ NCT Perspective. Issue 16

This article compares women’s choices and experiences of maternity care before and after the opening of the Barkantine Birth Centre, a freestanding midwifery unit in an inner city area of London.

Reference: McFarlane, A. J. et al. (2014) ‘Survey of women’s experiences of care in a new freestanding midwifery unit in an inner city area of London, England – 1: Methods and women’s overall ratings of care’ Midwifery 30 (9): 998-1008

A qualitative study of women’s decision-making around place of birth. This research focussed on how and from whom women received information that helped them to make choices about where to have their babies.

Reference: Hinton, L., Dumelow, C., Rowe, R. and Hollowell, J. (2018) ‘Birthplace choices: what are the information needs of women when choosing where to give birth in England? A qualitative study using online and face to face focus groups’ BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 18 (12)

Staffing, Workforce, Skills & Training

The efficient use of the maternity workforce and the implications for safety and quality in maternity care

A report on a study exploring the relationships between staffing models and clinical outcomes in English maternity services.

Reference: Sandall et al (2014) ‘The efficient use of the maternity workforce and the implications for safety and quality in maternity care: a population-based, cross-sectional study’. Health Services & Delivery Research. Vol 2 Issue 38.

Conference Presentations

On the 2nd July 2015, the National Childbirth Trust held an event ‘Midwifery-led care and choice of place of birth: facilitating change through sharing research and good practice’;at the University of Birmingham.

Further details, hand outs and presentations are available here.