Confederation of Midwives invites your comments on its Code of Ethics.
Please answer the following questions and address your response to Secretary
General, International Confederation, 10 Barley Mow Passage, Chiswick,
London W4 4PH, England: 1. Are there any noticeable gaps in the ICM Code
as written? 2. Are there any words or phrases in the ICM Code that are
confusing or inappropriate? Please list them and explain. 3. If you have
had the opportunity to use the ICM Code, please comment on its usefulness
and give examples.
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. 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.
I. Midwifery Relationships
A. Midwives respect a woman's informed right of choice and
promote the woman's acceptance of responsibility for the outcomes of
B. Midwives work with women, supporting their right to participate
actively in decisions about their care, and empowering women to speak
for themselves on issues affecting the health of women and their families
in their culture/society.
C. 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.
D. Midwives support and sustain each other in their professional
roles, and actively nurture their own and others' sense of self-worth.
E. Midwives work with other health professionals, consulting
and referring as necessary when the woman's need for care exceeds the
competencies of the midwife.
F. Midwives recognize the human interdependence within their
field of practice and actively seek to resolve inherent conflicts.
II. Practice of Midwifery
A. Midwives provide care for women and childbearing families
with respect for cultural diversity while also working to eliminate
harmful practices within those same cultures.
B. 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.
C. Midwives use their professional knowledge to ensure safe birthing
practices in all environments and cultures.
D. Midwives respond to the psychological, physical, emotional
and spiritual needs of women seeking health care, whatever their circumstances.
E. Midwives act as effective role models in health promotion
for women throughout their life cycle, for families and for other health
F. Midwives actively seek personal, intellectual and professional
growth throughout their midwifery career, integrating this growth into
III. The Professional Responsibilities of Midwives
A. Midwives hold in confidence client information in order
to protect the right to privacy, and use judgment in sharing this information.
B. Midwives are responsible for their decisions and actions,
and are accountable for the related outcomes in their care of women.
C. 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.
D. Midwives participate in the development and implementation
of health policies that promote the health of all women and childbearing
IV. Advancement of Midwifery Knowledge and Practice
A. Midwives ensure that the advancement of midwifery knowledge
is based on activities that protect the rights of women as persons.
B. Midwives develop and share midwifery knowledge through a variety
of processes, such as peer review and research.
C. Midwives participate in the formal education of midwifery
students and midwives.