For a Better Birth

Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services

AIMS... at the forefront of the childbirth movement for more than fifty years.

What is AIMS?

AIMS for the future

All the current trustees have been in post since AIMS became a charity in July 2014

Debbie Debbie first joined AIMS nearly 30 years ago. She worked for NCT and BfN, and had written for the AIMS Journal before joining the AIMS committee in 2005, and has been Vice Chair of AIMS since 2012. She has a maths PhD and currently works as an software consultant. She has four grown up children.
Emma Ashworth is a doula, an ABM breastfeeding counsellor and writer on birth issues, especially around human rights in childbirth. Emma has three young children and has volunteered for AIMS for 5 years. Emma
Ceri Ceri Durham joined the AIMS committee in early 2014. She is a mother of three young children, living in London's East End. Ceri recently completed her LLM (Masters in Law) in Medical Law focussing on the issue of informed consent in childbirth. She is currently working for a health charity heading up their maternity engagement programme and facilitates various birth-groups to support women making decisions about their births.
Virginia Hatton is the mother of two sons, both born at home. She is a birth activist and has volunteered with her local MSLC, Healthwatch and home birth support groups. She has a degree in Anthropologly and worked in the museum sector for eleven years. Virginia
Shane Shane Ridley met Beverley Beech on an MSLC 20 years ago, and was persuaded to take over managing AIMS Publications and join the committee. She worked in the NHS before stopping work to stay at home with her son. She has supported the work of the committee in a number of different roles over the years. Her passion is ensuring that women get access to the information they need to have a good birth.
Dorothy Brassington is our treasurer. She is an accountant, and also a retired NCT breastfeeding counsellor, a mother of four children, and has recently become a grandmother. Dorothy has been the AIMS treasurer for three years. Dorothy

AIMS was founded in 1960; a grassroots network of women searching for a way to improve birthing experiences for themselves and other women. Briefly called ‘The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Pregnant Women’ it listened to what women were saying and projected their voices to achieve change.

Much has been achieved over the years. It is now normal for women to be accompanied at birth by their partner, women are not shaved and given enemas, mothers and babies are less often separated, and at least we talk about consent. Yet, women still struggle to have the births that they want, and the Better Births report needed to include ‘being kind’ as one of its recommendations.

Women continue to tell us that they are unable to get the information and support for their decisions. Even when decisions are made and plans for support are put in place, support can be withdrawn leaving women feeling abandoned and unsafe. Birth without unwanted and unnecessary intervention must be protected. Barriers to interventions women need or want must be removed.

So, as we take AIMS on its continuing Journey we still have the same challenge, to make the voice of women who are experiencing the maternity services clear to those at all levels and to ensure that the system changes to respect women and their autonomy.

The Trustees have a vision of making AIMS more accessible to more women. We are often told by women that they wished they had found us earlier so that they could have had better information not only to make decision about their birth, but to have had the support to make sure those decisions were respected.

Beverley Beech retires from AIMS

Beverley stood down as AIMS Chair and as a Trustee of AIMS at the AGM on Saturday 23rd September in Birmingham and the Trustees thanked her and presented her with a commemorative engraved crystal vase


Beverley took on the role of Chair in 1977, and has been a great campaigner for birthing womens’ human rights; even before those words were in our vocabulary.

Her name caused many a Chief Executive, Head of Midwifery and midwife to quake in their boots and rethink their decisions.

It is because of Beverley that AIMS is well known in the UK and around the world, enabling others to set up support networks and campaigning groups of their own.

She made making a complaint about care something to be proud to do and provided information to make it possible to know how to do so.

She helped many of us to understand that if we had not given consent for something to be done to us, then what had happened was an assault; which allowed many of us to understand better why we felt so violated by what had been done to us.

She helped many of us to understand that we could say no to treatment and insist on being supported to remain at home, to labour when we were being told we had to have surgery, or not to be stuck on a drip or hooked up to electronic monitoring.

AIMS' new Chair, Debbie Chippington Derrick, and the rest of the Trustee team, wish her the very best in her retirement from 40 years of being at the helm of AIMS. We hope that she will continue to support AIMS and be proud of the organisation as it continues its Journey.

NEW AIMS WEBSITE - Please help us fundraise

AIMS needs to raise £6,000 for the development of a new website. Many women tell us that they wished that they had found AIMS earlier. AIMS has a huge resource of information which we want to share. We want everyone to have easy access to well researched, documented evidence of all aspects of pregnancy and birth. Our old website has served us well for nearly two decades, but we urgently need a new one that will be MUCH MORE user friendly, attractive, engaging and containing more information in formats which will be accessible to a wider audience; particularly to families who are experiencing maternity care for the first time.

You can help by:


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