Sheena Byrom and Diane Ménage argue for the centrality of compassion in midwifery relationships, not just with women and their families but also with midwifery and other colleagues. They define compassion in midwifery as ‘a process which incorporates recognition of women’s suffering, an emotional connection (or empathy) and a response which leads to a reduction in that suffering’. They argue that the under-resourcing of maternity services, gender inequalities and the fragmentation of midwifery work leads to midwifery ‘care without compassion’. They point out that research demonstrates the positive effects of midwifery care on outcomes for women and babies and compassionate care is an integral part of this. They identify strategies to foster and spread compassion within maternity services as well as practical suggestions for midwives to develop self-compassion in order to maximise self-sustainability.