– a snapshot of this September’s MIDIRS Midwifery Digest.
Perhaps it’s the fast approach of autumn, but September sees the Digest in a reflective mood.
For example, in this quarter’s Hot Topic, Rosemary Mander considers the changes in midwifery practice she has seen throughout her career. Her piece provides us with an insight into her own experiences and offers a practitioner’s perspective on the recent history of midwifery, one of many personal narratives that can be compared and contrasted to give scholars a deeper understanding of the whole.
The importance of considering an issue from a number of different perspectives is taken up by Julie Wray in her article in Postnatal section, Impact of place upon celebration of birth — experiences of new mothers on a postnatal ward. She highlights the fact that most research about postnatal care focuses on the experiences of first-time mothers with an uncomplicated birth, generally taking the form of a brief survey and that this cannot give us a proper understanding of the issues. Her own research is far more comprehensive, as she spent time observing activities in two postnatal wards, and carried out in-depth interviews with 17 women over a period of seven months following birth. Her findings give us a real insight into the way in which the physical environment of the ward affects these women and also the staff. It definitely provides some food for thought and highlights the importance of understanding the individual’s experience.
The importance of the individual is also highlighted by Tracey Sanderson who describes how her review of the literature on the movement of the mother’s pelvis during birth was triggered by her own experience. She describes how she became interested in the subject whilst reading an article that offered a physiological explanation of why mothers often lift their buttocks off the bed as they push their baby out, but did not provide any evidence. This set her off on a journey to research that evidence and the results of this journey are laid out for us in the Pregnancy section.
Julie Frohlich summarises and discusses two recent RCOG Green-top guidelines relating to sepsis in and following pregnancy. These guidelines incorporate knowledge gained through epidemiological research, of population trends rather than individuals, but they are also informed by analysis of individual and often sad stories of substandard care. Some of these individual experiences are re-told in the guidelines as vignettes that vividly help us understand the implications of delays in recognising symptoms of sepsis. No-one wants to have to learn in a way that involves unthinkable and tragic outcomes. Yet these outcomes can and sadly do occur, and the very least we can do is to think very carefully about what we can learn from them.
Of course there isn’t room here to mention everything individually, but September brings the usual combination of original articles, reprints from other journals that a childbirth professional might not otherwise come across, as well as a round-up of news from this quarter. There are stories of initiatives, of negotiation, practical stories and also how one woman managed to transport her breast milk between continents!
We also highlight legal issues, the almost forgotten diagnosis of pseudocyesis and the difficult but important topic of perimortem caesarean section. By no means least, our reviewers offer their reflections on studies and conferences, looking at topics ranging from risk and technology to skin-to-skin care.
There is plenty here for everyone, and we hope you will find something in the pages of September’s MIDIRS Midwifery Digest to inspire your own individual journey in the childbirth profession.
Photo credit: © Misha, Fotolia
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MIDIRS Midwifery Digest is the quarterly journal midwives, researchers and practitioners have been trusting for years. It provides in-depth original articles, reprints, reviews and commentaries on both research and practice issues.