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RCM calls for recruitment of 5,000 more midwives

The RCM has advised pregnant women to ensure a medical professional is present at the birth.
A rising birth rate and shortage of midwives is leading more women to opt for "freebirths" but the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has advised women that they should always seek professional assistance.

The RCM has said that a birth where no doctors or midwives are involved is inadvisable and says that the trend for such births is growing because of a shortage of midwives.

Although the government pledged that all pregnant women would be able to choose whether to have their child in a hospital, at home under supervision or at a centre led by midwives, Dame Karlene Davis, the general secretary of the RCM, claimed that those plans had not come to fruition.

The RCM has therefore called for 5,000 more midwives to be recruited by primary care trusts, with Dame Karlene saying that if you remove women's choice it may lead them to the practice of 'freebirthing' (where the Mum chooses to give birth alone, unassisted by the medical profession and often without even a friend or partner in attendance), which has been encouraged by internet sites and talk shows.

Dame Karlene said: "Some women aren't certain about homebirths and others want them but the service can't provide."

She added: "There is a serious shortage of midwives in England and I would like to see the evidence that contradicts this."

Dame Karlene also advised women that healthcare professionals do not want to control their experiences, but said that professional guidance must be sought because pregnant women need clarity.

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