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The midwife’s labour and birth handbook

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Title: The midwife’s labour and birth handbook

Edited by: Vicky Chapman and Cathy Charles

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Reviewer: Elisabeth McNair-Johnston. RN RM (Former Project Midwife)

What was it like?

This is the third edition of an outstanding handbook. It will be a familiar volume on most midwifery bookshelves, providing an excellent guide to midwifery focused care of both woman and child in the birthing setting. Research is constantly ongoing in the area of labour and birth, and this text updates current proven methodology and techniques in midwifery practice. The information provided reflects evidence based best practice at the time of its writing in 2013.

What were the highlights? 

Midwives, particularly in the first few years of their practice, may not have had the opportunity or experience to undertake some of the situations covered in the book or is less familiar or confident to proceed without a point of reference and this handbook will go some way in guiding them through it. The book adeptly addresses aspects of labour and birth from the normal to more complex situations that may arise both within and beyond the hospital setting. The writers detail up to date aspects of care ranging from breech presentation birth to helping with alternative positions when encountering shoulder dystocia.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Clearly written and illustrated throughout, topics of interest are distinctly identified and easily absorbed. The illustrations, diagrams and images are, on the whole, well-chosen and clearly presented. Examples of some of the more complex issues treated in the handbook are the step by step guide to suturing of the perineum and the most helpfully photographed stages of a breech birth. Index and references are thorough, allowing easy location of topics and further study.

Who should read it?

With this latest edition, the authors have supplied a guide to contemporary midwifery practice that will be useful to both new and experienced midwives, and indeed to anyone involved with the care of mother and baby in the labour and birth setting. Highly recommended.


The midwifes labour_third ed

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