Title: Evidence and Skills for Normal Labour and Birth; a guide for midwives
Author: Denis Walsh
Reviewer: Greta McGough, freelance writer, retired university lecturer
What was it like?
This is the second (and revised) edition of a useful textbook for midwives, which offers both student and qualified midwives a chance to consider their role and to reflect upon practice. The emphasis throughout is on the promotion of ”normal” labour, and the ways to avoid iatrogenesis.
What were the highlights?
There are several highlights to this book. These include the realistic scenarios used throughout the book, to illustrate points and to argue for reflection. These are not dramatic in content and the reader is left with a sense of calm practicality by the author. The questions for reflection that are included at the end of each chapter bring a greater depth to the chapter summaries, but also carry the reader forward.
Strengths & weaknesses:
One of the main strengths of this book is its emphasis throughout on the “being with” aspect of midwife, as opposed to the tradition of “doing to” during labour. While this discussion is not new, we still need to continue in that direction, so as to avoid the problems that care “arranged for the benefit of the system, not the mother” can be re-structured to provide an all-round better experience. The references and appendices that support this are also excellent, up-to-date and very wide-ranging, supporting the discussion.
There are no real weaknesses in this book, which is structured and organised so that all aspects of the care offered to women are honestly and realistically reflected, with many opportunities to carry discussion further and deeper. The author highlights and discusses the changes in practice that have arisen because of changing government policy, but of course it is difficult to combat these, beyond revising and streamlining practice.
Who should read it?
This excellent book should be read by all midwifery students, but also has a huge application for qualified midwives everywhere and in every part of the country. Like the earlier edition, it looks set to become a classic text for midwives at all levels.