Presentation Information

Sheena Byrom

Kindness, compassion and respect in maternity care: turning silence into a roar

  • Speaker: Sheena Byrom , RM, MA, OBE
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 75 Mins
  • Credits: 1.25 CERP, 1.25 ACM CPD, 0.1 Midwifery CEU

Kindness and compassion are absolutely fundamental to good quality maternity care, although for those using and delivery maternity care, this is a missing element, resulting in dissatisfaction, distress and in some instances, birth trauma. For many years there has been a growing concern about the culture of fear that is penetrating maternity services (Kirkham 2013, Dahlen 2014), potentially contributing to a lack of kindness and compassion (Byrom and Downe 2014). For midwives and obstetricians, fear of recrimination, litigation, negative media exposure and loss of livelihood potentially contributes to defensive practice (Symon 2000). Over- treatment ‘just in case’ not only increases workload stress and error (Youngson 2012), but potentially causes iatrogenic damage to mothers and babies (Dahlen et at 2013, Renfrew et al 2014). Whilst safety and effective health care treatment is the usually the intent and expectation of care givers and receivers respectively, Ballatt and Campling (2011) warn that when control is external it is toxic and doesn’t encourage kinship and reciprocity. Over-regulation and control, they believe, feeds a culture where those whose intention is kindness and caring are forced to behave defensively.