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Midwifery Services for Socially Disadvantaged Populations: Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines

Last updated: March 30, 2016
Project Number: RC0762-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of midwifery services compared with usual maternity care, for socially disadvantaged women with a low-risk pregnancy?
  2. What are the evidence-based guidelines regarding the implementation of midwifery services into communities with socially disadvantaged populations?

Key Message

Based on data from non-randomized, primarily retrospective studies, midwife-led care seems unlikely to have negative outcomes and likely to have positive outcomes on women during the prenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum periods of a low-risk pregnancy and may be beneficial to neonates as well. Midwife-led care may have more of a positive effect on process, maternal, and birth outcomes than on neonatal outcomes. No relevant evidence-based guidelines regarding the implementation of midwifery services into communities with socially disadvantaged populations were identified.