Our Origins: The Lancet Series on Midwifery

The [Lancet] Series provides a framework for quality maternal and newborn care (QMNC) that firmly places the needs of women and their newborn infants at its centre.

Executive Summary: The Lancet Series

The essential needs of childbearing women in all countries, and of their babies and families, are the focus of this thought-provoking series of international studies on midwifery. Many of those needs are still not being met, decades after they have been recognized. New solutions are required.

The [Lancet] Series provides a framework for quality maternal and newborn care (QMNC) that firmly places the needs of women and their newborn infants at its centre. It is based on a definition of midwifery that takes account of skills, attitudes and behaviors rather than specific professional roles. The findings of this Series support a shift from fragmented maternal and newborn care provision that is focussed on identification and treatment of pathology to a whole-system approach that provides skilled care for all.

The Lancet Series in a Nutshell

Midwifery and Quality Care

Findings from a new evidence-informed framework for maternal and newborn care (Renfrew et al., 2014).

Methods

Defined midwifery, critical synthesis of quantitative and qualitative evidence, case studies

Findings and conclusions

Could improve 50+ outcomes. Definition and framework for use in planning, monitoring, regulation, education.

Strengthening Health Systems Through Midwifery

Deployment of midwives in countries with high maternal mortality (Van Lerberghe et al., 2014).

Methods

Analysis of four country case studies with high maternal mortality

Findings and conclusions

Focus on coverage not enough. Must include quality, respectful care, reducing over-medicalization

Scaling Up Midwifery

The projected effect of scaling up midwifery (Homer et al., 2014).

Methods

Modeled impact of implementation of midwifery

Findings and conclusions

Universal provision of midwifery as defined in the series could reduce mortality by 80%+

Improvement of maternal and newborn health

Improvement of maternal and newborn health through midwifery (ten Hoope-Bender et al., 2014).

Methods

Summary, analysis, call to action

Findings and conclusions

Midwifery and midwives crucial to achievement of national and international goals and targets

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