Professor Hannah Dahlen, a Professor of Midwifery at Western Sydney University, said that she feared too many women were receiving unnecessary medical interventions because they either did not know about their options or were concerned about childbirth itself.
She also said it was now time maternity services improved parent education.
“I think in some ways what we’ve done is create giant orientation programs to hospital policy and procedure and make sure that women and their partners are very compliant to what we want them to take from our services.
“It’s time for us to rethink that, and also to think about empowering parents much more, getting them motivated, getting them informed about how wondrous and amazing their bodies are and how capable they are of doing this,” Professor Hannah Dahlen said.
Professor Dahlen and Dr Kate Levette, an Adjunct Fellow at Western Sydney University’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine, conducted a study to see how effective current antenatal education was.
The study focused on the effectiveness of education combined with complementary therapies such as massage, yoga and breathing techniques.
While the study had a small sample size, which didn’t provide definitive results, it did show that women who chose a complementary therapy were able to reduce epidural use or the chance of caesarean section.
“The fact that we found more than a halving of epidural rates, a dramatic reduction in almost halving of caesarean section rates, is really quite striking,” Professor Hannah Dahlen added.
Professor Dahlen now wants to explore whether the results would be similar with a greater number of women.
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