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Journal: Midwifery


The comparative safety of different birth settings is widely debated. Comparing research across high-income countries is complex, given differences in maternity service provision, data discrepancies, and varying research techniques and quality. Studies of births planned at home or in birth centres have reported both better and poorer outcomes than planned hospital births. Previous systematic reviews have focused on outcomes from either birth centres or home births, with inconsistent attention to quality appraisal. Few have attempted to synthesise findings.


to explore the views of expert midwives in Ireland and New Zealand of the skills they employ in expectant management of the third stage of labour (EMTSL).

Concepts: Critical thinking, New Zealand, Expert, Ireland, Scotland, Skills, Irish people


to explore how midwifery students and newly qualified midwives learnt to make clinical decisions.

Concepts: Decision making, Explorer, Midwifery


despite an exponential rise in the number of medically initiated elective caesarean sections over the last two decades, women’s experiences of this birth mode remain largely unknown. The aim of this study was to address this gap by describing women’s experiences of medically necessary elective caesarean section.

Concepts: Childbirth, Obstetrics, Caesarean delivery on maternal request, Caesarean section, Surgical procedures


to explore the health-care providers' performance and their own perceptions of the ANC services they provide.

Concepts: Ecology, Cognition, Rural area


OBJECTIVE: to assess the level, type and content of pre-service education curricula of health workers providing maternity services against the ICM global standards for Midwifery Education and Essential competencies for midwifery practice. We reviewed the quality and relevance of pre-service education curricula of four cadres of health-care providers of maternity care in Northern Nigeria. DESIGN AND SETTING: we adapted and used the ICM global standards for Midwifery Education and Essential competencies for midwifery practice to design a framework of criteria against which we assessed curricula for pre-service training. We reviewed the pre-service curricula for Nurses, Midwives, Community Health Extension Workers (CHEW) and Junior Community Health Extension Workers (JCHEW) in three states. Criteria against which the curricula were evaluated include: minimum entry requirement, the length of the programme, theory: practice ratio, curriculum model, minimum number of births conducted during training, clinical experience, competencies, maximum number of students allowable and proportion of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health components (MNCH) as part of the total curriculum. FINDINGS: four pre-service education programmes were reviewed; the 3 year basic midwifery, 3 year basic nursing, 3 year Community Health Extension Worker (CHEW) and 2 year Junior Community Health Extension Worker (JCHEW) programme. Findings showed that, none of these four training curricula met all the standards. The basic midwifery curriculum most closely met the standards and competencies set out. The nursing curriculum showed a strong focus on foundations of nursing practice, theories of nursing, public health and maternal newborn and child health. This includes well-defined modules on family health which are undertaken from the first year to the third year of the programme. The CHEW and JCHEW curricula are currently inadequate with regard to training health-care workers to be skilled birth attendants. KEY CONCLUSIONS: although the midwifery curriculum most closely reflects the ICM global standards for Midwifery Education and Essential competencies for midwifery practice, a revision of the competencies and content is required especially as it relates to the first year of training. There is an urgent need to modify the JCHEW and CHEW curricula by increasing the content and clinical hands-on experience of MNCH components of the curricula. Without effecting these changes, it is doubtful that graduates of the CHEW and JCHEW programmes have the requisite competencies needed to function adequately as skilled birth attendants in Health Centres, PHCs and MCHs, without direct supervision of a midwife or medical doctor with midwifery skills.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Childbirth, Health, Education, Skill, Nursing, Midwifery


OBJECTIVE: maternal mortality represents the single greatest health disparity between high and low income countries. This inequity is especially felt in low income countries in sub Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia where 99% of the global burden of maternal death is borne. A goal of MDG 5 is to reduce maternal mortality and have a skilled attendant at every birth by 2015. A critical skill is ongoing intrapartum monitoring of labour progress and maternal/fetal well-being. The WHO partograph was designed to assess these parameters. DESIGN AND SETTING: a retrospective review of charts (n=1,845) retrieved consecutively over a 2 month period in a tertiary teaching hospital in Ghana was conducted to assess the adequacy of partograph use by skilled birth attendants and the timeliness of action taken if the action line was crossed. WHO guidelines were implemented to assess the adequacy of partograph use and how this affected maternal neonatal outcomes. Further, the timeliness and type of action taken if action line was crossed was assessed. FINDINGS: partographs were adequately completed in accordance with WHO guidelines only 25.6% (472) of the time and some data appeared to be entered retrospectively. Partograph use was associated with less maternal blood loss and neonatal injuries. When the action line was crossed (464), timely action was taken only 48.7% of the time and was associated with less assisted delivery and a fewer low Apgar scores and NICU admissions. CONCLUSION: when adequately used and timely interventions taken, the partograph was an effective tool. Feasibility of partograph use requires more scrutiny; particularly identification of minimum frequency for safe monitoring and key variables as well as a better understanding of why skilled attendants have not consistently ‘bought in’ to partograph use. Frontline workers need access to ongoing and current education and strategically placed algorhythims.

Concepts: Time, Childbirth, Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Sahara, Apgar score, Maternal death, Millennium Development Goals


antenatal smoking is more prevalent among young women with low socio-economic status. The aim of our study is to assess whether the VoorZorg programme, compared to usual care, is effective in reducing cigarette smoking among young high risk pregnant women. Furthermore, the effect of VoorZorg on pregnancy outcomes and on breast feeding will be described.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infant, Prolactin, Effectiveness, Obstetrics, Breastfeeding, Implantation


severe health worker shortages and resource limitations negatively affect quality of antenatal care (ANC) throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Group ANC, specifically CenteringPregnancy (CP), may offer an innovative approach to enable midwives to offer higher quality ANC.

Concepts: Health care, Malaria, Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Obstetrics, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, African Development Bank


OBJECTIVE: to explore whether choices in birthing positions contributes to women’s sense of control during birth. DESIGN: survey using a self-report questionnaire. Multiple regression analyses were used to investigate which factors associated with choices in birthing positions affected women’s sense of control. SETTING: midwifery practices in the Netherlands. PARTICIPANTS: 1030 women with a physiological pregnancy and birth from 54 midwifery practices. FINDINGS: in the total group of women (n=1030) significant predictors for sense of control were: influence on birthing positions (self or self together with others), attendance of antenatal classes, feelings towards birth in pregnancy and pain in second stage of labour. For women who preferred other than supine birthing positions (n=204) significant predictors were: influence on birthing positions (self or self together with others), feelings towards birth in pregnancy, pain in second stage of labour and having a home birth. For these women, influence on birthing positions in combination with others had a greater effect on their sense of control than having an influence on their birthing positions just by themselves. KEY CONCLUSIONS: women felt more in control during birth if they experienced an influence on birthing positions. For women preferring other than supine positions, home birth and shared decision-making had added value. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: midwives can play an important role in supporting women in their use of different birthing positions and help them find the positions they feel most comfortable in. Thus, contributing to women’s positive experience of birth.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Obstetrics, Value added, Traditional birth attendant, Midwifery, Home birth