A review of the literature on the midwife and community-based maternity care

Therese Dowswell, Mary J. Renfrew, Jenny Hewison, Barbara A. Gregson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: to review the UK literature relating to community-based maternity care.

    Design: all UK research studies published between 1970 and 1998 relating to community-based maternity care were included. Searches were made via a number of electronic databases using defined search terms. All papers included were independently reviewed by a minimum of two researchers. Study findings were tabulated using a pro-forma. Findings are summarised in this paper.

    Findings: a total of 241 papers were deemed to meet all inclusion criteria. The majority of studies used descriptive methods with only 11 papers reporting findings from randomised controlled trials. Findings are reported relating to clinical outcomes, the care process and the views of women and health professionals.

    Conclusion and policy implications: the overall quality of the evidence in the papers reviewed was very mixed. What limited evidence there is suggests that, for the majority of women, care in community settings is as safe and as acceptable to women as care provided in hospital. Despite a large volume of literature, the amount that is known about midwives' contribution to care, and what women think about it, is limited. There is a need for controlled studies to compare outcomes for different patterns of care and for well-designed observational studies to provide information on the care process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-101
    Number of pages9
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


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