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Keywords:

  • collaboration between midwives and obstetricians;
  • collaborative models;
  • normal birth

Effective collaboration between professional groups is increasingly seen as an essential element in good quality and safe health care. This is especially important in the context of maternity care, where most women have straightforward labour and birth experiences, but some require rapid transfer between care providers and settings. This article presents current accounts of collaboration—or lack of it—in maternity care in the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia. It then examines tools designed to measure collaboration and teamwork within general health care contexts. Finally, a set of characteristics are proposed for effective collaboration in maternity care, as a basis for further empirical work in this area.