Evidence-based Care for Normal Labour and Birth: A guide for midwives (Hardback) book cover

Evidence-based Care for Normal Labour and Birth

A guide for midwives

By Denis Walsh

© 2007 – Routledge

186 pages

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Hardback: 9780415418904
pub: 2007-04-20
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203961711
pub: 2007-04-19
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Evidence-based care is a well established principle in contemporary healthcare and a world wide health care movement. However, despite the emphasis on promoting evidence-based or effective care without the unnecessary use of technologies and drugs, intervention rates in childbirth are rising rapidly.

Evidence-based Care for Normal Labour and Birth brings to light much of the evidence around what works best for normal birth which has, until now, remained largely hidden and ignored by maternity care professionals. Beginning with the decision about where to have a baby, through all the phases of labour to the immediate post-birth period, it systematically details research and other evidence sources that endorse a low intervention approach. The book:

  • highlights where the evidence is compelling
  • discusses its application where women question its relevance to them and where the practitioner's expertise leads them to challenge it
  • gives background and context before discussing the research to date
  • includes questions for reflection and practice recommendations generated from the evidence.

Using research data, Evidence-based Care for Normal Labour and Birth critiques institutionalised, scientifically managed birth and endorses a more humane midwifery-led model. Packed with up-to-date and relevant information, this controversial book will help all students, practising midwives and doulas keep abreast of the evidence surrounding normal birth and ensure their practice takes full advantage of it.


'In his multi-faceted book Denis Walsh explores research-based evidence about birth, examining practices in the orthodox medical method and empirically-based and more adventurous midwifery practice. He raises the questions that need to be asked about the medical management of birth, and considers ways in which it might be changed to focus instead on women's needs and spontaneous psycho-physiological processes. Denis Walsh stimulates creative thinking…he is essential reading for all student midwives.' - Sheila Kitzinger, birth activist

'A well written and powerful book which is a must for midwives, mothers and the medical profession. Denis Walsh eloquently exposes the faults and failures in our current provision of maternity services and offers alternatives that challenge the orthodoxy of the biomedical model.' - Professor Paul Lewis, Academic Head of Midwifery and Child Health, Bournemouth University, UK

'This scholarly, readable book provides a springboard for practitioners to jump into the deep pool of their own and their client's experiences…Throughout, this book celebrates the dignity of childbearing women, emphasizing their need for kind, respectful, and compassionate care.' - Jane Pincus, Birth, September 2008

Table of Contents

1. Evidence: the New Orthodoxy 2. Contextualising Current Childbirth Care 3. Birth Setting and Environment 4. Labour, Stages and Time 5. The Paradox of Labour Pain 6. New Directions in Complementary Therapies 7. Movement and Posture Updated 8. Second Stage: the Last Frontier of Medicalisation 9. Reclaiming Third Stage 10. The Power of the Pelvic Floor 11. Rehabilitating the Physiology of Childbirth: A Sacred Quest 12. From Evidence to Practice

About the Author

Denis Walsh is Senior Lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, UK, and an independent midwifery consultant.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HEALTH & FITNESS / Pregnancy & Childbirth
MEDICAL / Nursing / Maternity, Perinatal, Women's Health