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At a time of upheaval for the NHS, this text discusses the contemporary social context and policy drivers affecting childbirth and maternity services in the UK, making clear links to practice throughout. Complex health and social care demands, and particularly the policy commitment to choice for women and their families, are propelling midwives to work in innovative ways. The book outlines the environment within which midwives are operating #xE2;#xAC;#x1C; taking into account factors such as the population#xE2;#xAC;"s changing demographic profile, rising fertility rates and health inequalities. New service models, new technologies and a plurality of providers #xE2;#xAC;#x1C; from acute to primary care, from the NHS to private or third sector organisation #xE2;#xAC;#x1C; have changed the structure and delivery of maternity care further. The chapters include key points for practice and narrative-style case studies drawing upon the perspectives of both women and their partners, and health professionals to illustrate the impact and relevance of policy to midwifery practice. Providing an up-to-date discussion of the social context of midwifery and policy, this much-needed resource provides midwifery students and practitioners with an overview of contemporary maternity services.