5 Codes of Ethics and Professional Conducts for Midwives

Midwifery Codes of Ethics and Professional Conducts:

The aim of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) is to improve the standard of care provided to women, babies and families throughout the world through the development, education, and appropriate utilization of the professional midwife.

Midwifery Codes of Ethics
Fig: Midwifery Codes of Ethics

In keeping with its aim of women’s health and focus on the midwife, the ICM sets forth the following code to guide the education, practice and research of the midwife. This code acknowledges women as persons, seeks justice for all people and equity in access to health care, and is based on mutual relationships of respect, trust, and the dignity of all members of society.

5 Midwifery Codes of Ethics and Professional Conducts:

1. Midwifery Relationships:

  • Midwives develop a partnership with women in which both share relevant information that leads to informed decision-making, consent to a plan of and acceptance of responsibility for the outcomes of their choices.
  • Midwives support the right of women/families to participate actively in decisions about their care.
  • Midwives empower women/families to speak for themselves on issues affecting the health of women and families within their culture/society.
  • Midwives, together with women, work with policy and funding agencies to define women’s needs for health services and to ensure that resources are fairly allocated considering priorities and availability.
  • Midwives support and sustain each other in their professional roles, and actively nurture their own and others’ sense of self-worth.
  • Midwives respectfully work with other health professionals, consulting and referring as necessary when the woman’s need for care exceeds the competencies of the midwife.
  • Midwives recognize the human interdependence within their field of practice and actively seek to resolve inherent conflicts.
  • Midwives have responsibilities to themselves as persons of moral worth, including duties of moral self-respect and the preservation of integrity.

2. Practice of Midwifery:

  • Midwives provide care for women and childbearing families with respect for cultural diversity while also working to eliminate harmful practices within those same cultures.
  • Midwives encourage realistic expectations of childbirth by women within their own society, with the minimum expectation that no women should be harmed by conception or childbearing.
  • Midwives use up-to-date, evidence-based professional knowledge to ensure safe birthing practices in all environments and cultures.
  • Midwives respond to the psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of women seeking health care, whatever their circumstances.
  • Midwives act as effective role models of health promotion for women throughout their life cycle, for families and for other health professionals.
  • Midwives actively seek personal, intellectual and professional growth throughout their midwifery career, integrating this growth into their practice.

3. Professional Responsibilities of Midwives:

  • Midwives hold in confidence client information in order to protect the right to privacy, and use judgment in sharing this information except when mandated by law.
  • Midwives are responsible for their decisions and actions, and are accountable for the related outcomes in their care of women.
  • Midwives may refuse to participate in activities for which they hold deep moral opposition; however, the emphasis on individual conscience should not deprive women of essential health services.
  • Midwives understand the adverse consequences that ethical and human rights violations have on the health of women and infants, and will work to eliminate these violations.
  • Midwives participate in the development and implementation of health policies that promote the health of all women and childbearing families.

4. Advancement of Midwifery Knowledge and Practice:

  • Midwives ensure that the advancement of midwifery knowledge is based on activities that protect the rights of women as persons.
  • Midwives develop and share midwifery knowledge through a variety of processes, such as peer review and research.
  • Midwives participate in the formal education of midwifery students and ongoing education of midwives.

Other Codes:

A. Midwife and their clients:

  • Treat the client as an individual and with respect.
  • Demonstrate sympathetic and sensitive behavior towards the client.
  • Maintain the confidentiality and the privacy of the clients at all times.
  • Serve all clients equally regardless of religion, gender, age, race, nationality and economic class.
  • Act as the clients advocate in all matters relating to their care.
  • Respect the legal right of the clients to be informed about their diagnosis.

B. Midwives and their profession:

  • Do not accept or request money or gifts of any kind from the clients or their family or care givers.
  • Take responsibility to maintain and extend own professional knowledge through appropriate professional development and training.
  • Do not misuse hospital or any property under one’s care or control.
  • Do not knowingly engage in any activities which are likely to bring profession into discredit.

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