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Best Practices in Midwifery – Using the Evidence to Implement Change

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Title: Best Practices in Midwifery – Using the Evidence to Implement Change

Editors: Barbara A Anderson and Susan E Stone

Publisher: Springer Publishing Company

Reviewer: Elisabeth McNair-Johnston. RN RM (former project midwife)

What was it like?

The focus of this authoritative US midwifery text is a collection of cases surrounding pregnancy and childbirth and providing the best way to deal with them. It is well written and as midwifery is growing in the US, the need to be absolutely solid and current in practice is essential. Notably, each case is presented with the most up to date researched and proven practice that is available. Models of care can be informatively designed by using the experiences clearly described. This provides support to midwives by encouraging them to change their practice where needed.

It is well established that evidence based practice is the basis for all practitioners of midwifery, nursing and healthcare generally. As the title clearly suggests, practice must be founded on what has been proven through thoroughly analysed research.

In a country that has more independent midwives and group practices than hospital based midwives this type of book could possibly become the cornerstone in terms of the standards of midwifery care.

Reading the book from a British midwife’s perspective was quite refreshing and revealing of the present day expectations of the American midwife’s practice and academic foundations.

What were the highlights? 

Simply, the book is a compilation of situations that may be encountered in midwifery practice and discusses the best evidence based ways to deal with them. This will aid in building a model of care for mother and child. The editors and contributors to the book go to great lengths to provide guidance on accepted practices in various situations from antenatal scenarios to acute postpartum haemorrhage and do this well.

Strengths & weaknesses:

As the editors note, maternity and child healthcare provision in the US is in crisis so using a convincing discussion of cases like this is most timely.

The main strength of this book is that the editors have drawn from an array of academic midwifery contributors from across the US and beyond. Taking its meticulously researched content from organisations such as the UK’s Cochrane Library known for its scrutiny of research give the book vital credibility.

The style and presentation of the book are clear and well organised with defined chapters covering each case. It is methodically referenced and indexed making searching for specific items relatively easy.

As a more detailed understanding of midwifery practice may be needed to put the books contents into context so the novice midwife learner may find the content complex to grapple with.

Who should read it?

In the first instance, US midwives at any level, particularly those looking for guidance on evidence based practice should read the book. Midwifery policy makers in the US would find the contents most useful in setting policies, protocols and implementing areas for audit of practice and its outcomes. It is a sound resource that should be available on the reference shelf wherever midwifery is taught or practiced in the US or beyond if only for insight into US midwifery.

The eBook format makes this useful by being accessible on portable devices.

Best practice in midwifery

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