For a Better Birth

Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services

AIMS... at the forefront of the childbirth movement for more than fifty years.

What is AIMS?

CELEBRATING CONTINUITY – One Year On, Saturday 8th April 2017 in Leeds

A second ONE DAY CONFERENCE organised by a collaboration of:
AIMS (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services), ARM (Association of Radical Midwives), Neighbourhood Midwives, One to One Midwives, Positive Birth Movement, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, home of Serenity and Halcyon Birth Centres and Royal College of Midwives.

Tickets available from Ticket Tailor
Early bird, group and student tickets available until the end of February

Whether you are a woman expecting a baby, a commissioner or a chief executive choosing and providing local services, or a midwife, student midwife or doctor giving care; whoever you are or whatever your role, ‘Celebrating Continuity’ is the most important maternity care conference of 2017 and is not to be missed.

For further details please see

AIMS statement on the NMC/IMUK situation

The Nursing and Midwifery Council, the regulator for nurses and midwives, has deemed that the current indemnity insurance for some independent midwives is inadequate. Alternative adequate insurance, as well as a definition from the NMC of what constitutes adequate insurance, is not immediately available. Until this is resolved, some women are denied their right to choose with to have with them during their labour and birth.

AIMS is concerned to hear that the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has stated that some independent midwives (IMs) insured under the IMUK insurance scheme are unable to practice until the insurance scheme is improved. It is our understanding that the NMC has refused to explain what insurance would be acceptable, stating that they are, 'unable to advise [IMUK] about the level of cover that you need. We consider that you are in the best position to determine, with your indemnity provider, what level of cover is appropriate for your practice' and yet they have decreed that the provision secured by IMUK is not sufficient. This apparent obfuscation is unacceptable, and we urge the NMC to immediately clarify the position on insurance requirements.

AIMS is especially worried about those women who have been forced by the NMC's decision into birthing without the midwife that they have grown to trust. Contrary to popular belief, Independent Midwives do not simply support privileged women who can afford to pay for them. A very large proportion of the women who engage an IM do so because they cannot access NHS care. This may be because they have been severely traumatised by NHS care in the past, or because they are not eligible for care by the NHS. For those women, the NMC's suggest that they book maternity care with the NHS may not be possible, and the NMC has left them abandoned without care. For other women, their trust may not be supportive in their decisions. For instance, women who plan to birth breech babies or multiples vaginally may find that the NHS trust puts huge pressure on them to conform to hospital guidelines which are not appropriate to the individual, and could put those women and babies at risk of harm.

If you are a woman who has had her care withdrawn by the NMC's actions, we suggest that you consider the following:

On 15th February 2017 the NMC sent us a letter which included an answer to a question we asked about the independent midwives being present at births of friends and family which stated "A registered midwife cannot choose to avoid this mandatory legal requirement by attending the birth in a ‘non-midwife’ capacity. This is because their professional and legal obligations remain the same in these circumstances. Indeed, advocacy, advice and emotional support before, during and after hospital births is a common part of independent midwifery practice and the requirement for indemnity cover applies to all these parts of their practice. The only exception to this requirement is when a midwife attends a birth in an entirely personal capacity to support a family member or close friend as long as they do not provide any midwifery services [emphasis added]. This is important as it avoids any blurring of the professional boundaries required of all nurses and midwives in the Code." which makes it clear that midwives can support friends and family birth in a non-midwife role. However, AIMS understands that midwives have been advised that this is not acceptable if they have already provided some midwifery care, and we continuing to discuss this situation with the NMC.

NEW AIMS WEBSITE - Please help us fundraise

AIMS needs to raise £6,000 for the development of a new website. Many women tell us that they wished that they had found AIMS earlier. AIMS has a huge resource of information which we want to share. We want everyone to have easy access to well researched, documented evidence of all aspects of pregnancy and birth. Our old website has served us well for nearly two decades, but we urgently need a new one that will be MUCH MORE user friendly, attractive, engaging and containing more information in formats which will be accessible to a wider audience; particularly to families who are experiencing maternity care for the first time.

You can help by:


We try very hard to make this web site accessible. It has been tested with most browsers, including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. If you have any problems using this site - slow loading, broken links, mistakes in content etc, - please email

We are recommended in the Good Web Guide for Parents

Articles on the AIMS website are ©Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce any material from this site without permission.

Version $Revision: 1.53 $ last updated $Date: 2016/08/29 11:35:55 $ by $Author: debbie $ $ $ $ $ $

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional