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Birth Situation Room



Welcome to the “Birth Situation Room,” where we gather reports of birth practices around the world. Please take a moment to read the Global Midwifery Council’s Mission Statement.

The goal for keeping this resource is to make positive change in birth around the world for motherbaby and society. If you have knowledge of how midwifery or birth are doing in any country or region of a country anywhere in the world please write a letter, report or article for Midwifery Today magazine and the Birth Situation Room.

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Map of Earth by NASA’s Earth Observatory

How to Use the Birth Situation Room

• Select a country from the right with this GMC logo to view reports available from that country:
• You may also read about a topic listed below:

STATE OF THE WORLD   •   TRADITIONAL MIDWIVES   •   BIRTH MODELS THAT WORK

Highlighted Report

Update on Birth in Hungary [March 2012]

Between 1990 and 2011 existing homebirth practices were alegal. The recent homebirth regulations were introduced in April 2011 and posed a big challenge to midwives to qualify for the necessary licences to attend homebirths. The first licensed midwifery service provider was finally set up in March 2012. Of course many more practicing midwives would need to receive licences if their services are to cover most of the country.

Meanwhile the issue of criminalization—a heritage from those 20 years when homebirth was unregulated—remains a real and constant threat. The internationally famous case of Dr. Ágnes Geréb is a scandalous example of how the judiciary system in Hungary has been unable to follow modern developments in midwifery services. In particular the fact nowadays it is professional boards of midwives who investigate midwifery led birth incidents and not police and criminal prosecution services.

In December, 2010 the European Court of Human Rights passed a judgment in favor of a Hungarian mother declaring that women have their right to choose the place of birth and that it is a safe and private environment for the mother and child.

On May 31 – June 1, in The Hague there will be an international conference based on this decision since it is now an important precedent case for many countries just as the outcome of the Dr. Geréb case will be a major precedent case for the Central and East European region and possibly beyond on this highly contentious issue of the criminalization of midwives.

— Gabriella Nagy

Hungarian Civil Liberties Union Press Release: Victory in Strasbourg for the cause of home birth! (Ternovsky Judgment) (opens a PDF)