Similarities in midwifery education, regulation, and practice across Europe – a literature review
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Midwifery Department, Emergency Buzau County Hospital, Buzau, Romania
Bioterra University, Bucharest, Romania
Midwifery Department, Ploiești County Emergency Hospital, Prahova, Romania
Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Melania Elena Pop-Tudose   

Midwifery Department, Emergency Buzau County Hospital, Buzau, Romania
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A204
Evidence shows that well-educated, regulated, and supported midwives working in an enabling health system are the most appropriate caregivers for women and their newborns1. Midwives play a vital role in reducing maternal mortality, newborn deaths and still births and contributing to healthier families and more productive communities1,2. There are significant variations between the European countries in the way midwives are trained and in how they fulfill their scope of practice3,4. Most of the countries efforts to strengthen the midwifery profession, to improve the education, and to follow the best international standards and guidelines4,5.

To identify similarities between the European countries in terms of midwifery education, regulation, and practice, that could be the starting point for an alignment of midwives' regulation and education in Europe for obtaining a strong midwifery workforce and stable/performance maternity services for all European women.

To achieve the proposed objective, a literature search was performed for the relevant published articles between 2013 and 2023 by using electronic databases of Medline, PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar.

The most evident and benefic similarity found was that in our days, the (1) midwifery education is at the academic level in the majority European countries. Other similarities that are associated with the strong position of midwifery in Europe and with high quality of midwives' services are the (2) preserved cult and respect of midwifery, the (3) supervising and mentoring practice in midwifery training and (4) a curriculum with a holistic approach in which theoretical knowledge is very well reinforced practically with a tutor as a role model.

There is clear progress in the education of midwives in most European countries, being now at the academic level, which positively influences their performance in practice. However, the type of studies, direct entry or master's degree does not influence the regulation of the midwifery profession, it does not help to obtain the full scope of practice or the full level of autonomy. The midwifery profession works best in countries where the cult/respect towards this profession has been preserved and the government and health system invest in midwives and in their work environment, education, and regulation.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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