Two of the UK's leading charities dedicated to improving maternity care have announced their official merger.

The charities - MIDIRS, which provides information resources for maternity health care professionals and students, and NCT, a charity which champions user involvement in maternity services and research - hope that by combining, they can make significant improvements to maternity care.

The announcement coincided with yesterday's International Day of the Midwife, which this year focused on tackling inequalities in maternal and newborn mortality around the globe.

Andy Fisher, MIDIRS business manager said: "This is the culmination of a great deal of hard work for both organisations. We are delighted to be working more closely with NCT and to finally start moving forward to achieve our shared goals. The combined strength and skills of both organisations presents a fantastic opportunity to provide a stronger and more effective service for all health professionals involved in maternity care, for pregnant women their families and carers."