Midwifery care in eight industrialised countries: how does Canadian midwifery compare?
Malott AM, Davis B, McDonald H and Hutton E.
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada (2009) 31(10) 974-979.

This study was aimed at comparing and contrasting Canadian midwifery with the practice in other developed countries. The authors selected eight countries with comparable maternal mortality rates [Australia, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Canada], and assessed scope of practice, educational preparation and the role of midwives in maternity care.

Information was gathered by survey information from key midwifery informants, document analysis of relevant literature and a questionnaire survey of a convenient sampling of midwifery educators and clinicians.

There was a 75% response to the questionnaire survey. Canadian midwives attended the least number of births (<10%). There were only 720 midwives to a population of 33,212,696 in Canada compared to 33,363 midwives to a population of 60,943,912 in the United Kingdom!

United Kingdom midwives ticked all the boxes in selected ‘elements of care’, including assisting at Caesarean sections. Australia and Denmark ticked the least. In France, the caregivers were not known ‘throughout’.

A training in Nursing was a pre-requisite to Midwifery training in Sweden.

This was a revealing study in its own way, although the limitations are to be noted. The discussion was rather brief for a study of this importance, thereby raising more questions than answering them. For example, why was Italy or Germany not included?

Nevertheless, many UK midwives and Obstetricians will find this article informative.