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Oxford Handbook of Midwifery

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Title: Oxford Handbook of Midwifery 

Authors: Janet Medforth, Susan Battersby, Maggie Evans, Beverley Marsh and Angela Walker

Publisher: Oxford University Press, second edition 2011

Reviewer: Jane Brown, patient safety advisor, Worcs Acute NHS Trust

What was it like?

This is the first pocket-sized bible for midwives that encompasses everything required in caring for a mother and baby from pre conceptual to the final examination.

It is written by midwives for midwives.


What were the highlights? 

As this is pocket sized, it is a must for all student and qualified midwives. It is impressive that this is written by midwives. It is written based on actual NHS guidelines, evidenced-based protocols and care pathways. Written in 2006 and updated in 2011, every subject has useful websites and suggested further reading., This approach enables the reader to gain quick succinct information and then be able to read wider into the subject at a later date.

Strengths & weaknesses:

For the midwifery student everything they will be assessed on, is in here. It is easy to read with bullet points when you have no time to read through a paragraph. It covers the high risk areas well and as any midwife will know, time is of the essence. A separate index is included at the back for emergencies, which I thought was a well-thought out practical aid to the practitioner. This ranges from hypoxia and asphyxia to shoulder dystocia and eclampsia to name a few emergencies. It is amazing just how much information is included in a small book. The illustrated drawings are clear and precise.

The only weakness would be that the font is small, but if the font were bigger the book would not fit snugly into a midwife’s bag.

As a patient safety advisor who regularly reviews incident forms, this book gave me further information at my finger tips. This book sits on my desk and is well thumbed.

It is just as important as the CTG machine or other obstetric tools. The cover is plastic and ideal to read with a coffee as it can be wiped clean.

Who should read it?

Although this is a must have book for the midwifery student, it will be of benefit to all levels of midwives and clinicians. This will also be of benefit to community nurses, health visitors, general practitioners and risk managers.


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