Statistics: Care provided by independent midwives increasing steadily

For the eighth time in a row, the Institute of Midwifery, on behalf of the Swiss Association of Midwives (SHV), provides an analysis of the data on the services of independent midwives. The data reflect the care provided to women and families during pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum period. In the 12 years since recording started, there has been a significant increase not only in the number of supported families, but also in the number of independent midwives.

Increase in all areas of midwifery – and across disciplines

During the reported year, the highest-ever number of cases overall and the highest numbers for care during pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum period were recorded. The number of independent midwives has also risen significantly since recording started. The observed increase can be explained only partly by the rising birth rate. In addition, the increasingly early hospital discharges after delivery and an improved, regional offer of care by independent midwives may have had an effect, as well as the increasingly interdisciplinary care offered during pregnancy besides that of physicians. 

Focus on the postpartum period – and 5% of births

Although most of the care services of independent midwives are provided during the postpartum period at home for the women and their families, the demand during pregnancy and delivery has increased as well. The 2016 survey recorded 4204 births attended by independent midwives, making up just under 5% of all births in Switzerland. These births took place at the homes of the families (751), at birth centres (1468) or in hospitals with attending midwives (1364). 

Quality thanks to continuity

A particular quality feature of midwifery lies in the continuity of the care. Practically all women with deliveries attended by midwives and most women with midwifery care during pregnancy experience continuous care from the independent midwife of their choice. 

Since 2005, the Swiss Association of Midwives (SHV) has recorded the services of midwives in Switzerland for quality assurance purposes. The report provides information for any interested persons and professional groups on the services of independent midwives and on the socio-demographic and obstetrical characteristics of the women in their care. 

Since the 2009 survey, the Institute of Midwifery has held the mandate for processing and analysing the data on the services of independent midwives in Switzerland, and it compiles a yearly report on behalf of the Swiss Association of Midwives (SHV). The report on the 2016 survey was published at the beginning of November by the SHV.