We regulate midwives

We regulate 42,000 midwives to make sure they meet the standards needed to take care of women, babies and families.

The role of a midwife

Midwives make a vital contribution to the quality and safety of maternity care. The midwife’s role is to provide skilled, knowledgeable, respectful, and compassionate care for all women, newborn infants and their families.

They work across the continuum from pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, labour and birth, postpartum, and the early weeks of newborn infants’ life.

This includes women’s future reproductive health, well-being, and decisions and promoting very early child development and the parents’ transition to parenthood.

Midwives respect and enable the human rights of women and children, and their priority is to ensure that care always focuses on the needs, views, preferences, and decisions of the woman and the needs of the newborn infant.

Midwifery as a protected function and title

Midwifery is a protected function in the UK, meaning it's a criminal offence for any person other than a registered midwife, or a registered medical practitioner, to attend on a woman in childbirth (except in emergencies or when in training as a student midwife or medical student).

It's also a criminal offence for someone to falsely represent themselves as being on our register and use the protected title of ‘Midwife’, or falsely represent themselves as possessing midwifery qualifications.

How we regulate midwifery

Midwives are fully accountable as the lead professional for the care and support of women and newborns, infants, partners and families.

They provide care based on the best available evidence and keep up to date with current knowledge and skills, thereby helping to ensure that their care is responsive to emerging evidence and future developments.

Midwives have their own part of the NMC register, as well as their own education standards and standards of proficiency.

View all our midwifery standards

Watch our introduction to midwifery regulation for students

What you can expect from our registrants

It's important that everyone feels confident about the care they can expect from the midwives on our register.

We've introduced new standards for midwifery in the UK, supporting them to deliver safe, effective, and kind care now and in the future. As a result, our midwives are at the forefront of improving people's health and wellbeing.

We've made a short animation to help you understand what you can expect from your midwife.

Our midwifery advisers

The role of Senior Midwifery Adviser is to provide us with advise on strategy, policy and education. We have two senior midwifery advisers who work with us in the Professional Practice Directorate. 

Their roles are  about engaging with the midwifery professionals, women and their families and other organisations across the four countries. This means we listen and hear from midwives about being in practice whether that is in clinical care, education, research, management or another area of midwifery experience. 

  Jacqui Williams is a very experienced midwifery academic and practising midwife with over 30 years of involvement in pre and post-registration midwifery programmes.
  Verena Wallace Verena Wallace trained as a general nurse in Belfast and has worked as a midwife in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.. She’s previously been a consultant midwife in public health and held senior posts in nursing and midwifery management as well as in policy roles at national government level.  

The midwifery panel

We're proud to be advised by some of the most influential and respected people working in midwifery today.

These leaders sit on the Midwifery Panel, which was established in 2015 to give us the high-level advice we need on some of the key issues facing the profession.

Find out more about the Midwifery panel

Find out more about the panel

Key resources for midwives

We've developed a number of useful documents and resources designed to support midwives in the UK and explain recent changes to the way we work with the profession.

The Code

Midwifery standards

Enabling Professionalism - this describes and demonstrates what professionalism looks like in everyday practice through the application of the Code.

Standards for competence for registered midwives (relates to the 2009 education standards) 

Regulation

Practising as a midwife in the UK - this document gives an overview of how midwives are regulated in the UK. This document describes our role in midwifery education, registration and revalidation, standards and guidance, and fitness to practise.

Midwifery Supervision

Our legal framework changed on the 31 March 2017 to seperate the function of midwifery supervision from regulation. We asked for this after a number of critical incidents and independent reports confirmed that the previous supervision arrangements were not appropriate for public protection.

The changes mean we're now solely responsible for all aspects of midwifery regulation and all midwifery referrals are now made directly to us. However, the status of midwifery as a distinct profession, its protected title and function or the scope of midwifery practice weren't affected.

Find out more about changes to midwifery supervision

Midwifery supervision in England
Midwifery supervision in Northern Ireland
Midwifery supervision in Scotland
Midwifery supervision in Wales

My Future, My Midwife