Separation at birth due to safeguarding concerns is a deeply distressing and impactful event, with numbers rising across the world, and has devastating outcomes for birth mothers and their children. It is one of the most challenging aspects of contemporary midwifery practice in high-income countries, although rarely discussed and reflected on during pre- and post-registration midwifery training. Ethnic and racial disparities are prevalent both in child protection and maternity services and can be explained through an intersectional lens, accounting for biases based on race, gender, class, and societal beliefs around motherhood. With this paper, we aim to contribute to the growing body of critical midwifery studies and re-think the role of midwives in this context. Building on principles of reproductive justice theory, Intersectionality, and Standpoint Midwifery, we argue that midwives play a unique role when supporting women who go through child protection processes and should pursue a shift from passive bystander to active upstander to improve care for this group of mothers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBirth (Berkeley, Calif.)
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jun 2024


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