Removal at birth and its challenges for midwifery care

Kaat De Backer*, Kate Chivers, Claire Mason, Jane Sandall, Abigail Easter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In England, care proceedings refer to the process whereby the family court decides to remove a child from its parents against their wish, due to a heightened risk of significant harm. There has been a worrying increase of the number of babies that are removed shortly after birth due to care proceedings in England. The removal of a newborn baby from its parents often occurs while the mother is still recovering in hospital and is a deeply distressing, intrusive and emotionally impactful event, both for parents as well as for midwives involved in their care. Although the number of removals of newborn has risen, increasing support for those involved has not followed the same pace. These women are particularly vulnerable after the removal of a child but there is a lack of evidence and guidance to improve the experiences and the perinatal outcomes of these mothers and their infants. At a healthcare professional level, the impact of care proceedings and removals at birth on the midwifery workforce cannot be underestimated and has been described as one of the most challenging aspects of contemporary midwifery practice. In order to improve the care and outcomes of this under-researched and often stigmatized group of mothers, midwives need to have access to adequate training and supervision. Against the current challenges within UK maternity services, this is of the utmost importance to prevent further burnout among midwives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146647
JournalEuropean Journal of Midwifery
Issue numberApril
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Child protection
  • Loss of custody
  • Maternity care
  • Safeguarding


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