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A qualitative study of factors that influence midwives’ practice in relation to low-risk women's oral intake in labour in Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2020-09-01, 00:00 authored by M Tadaumi, Linda SweetLinda Sweet, K Graham
© 2019 Australian College of Midwives Background: Restriction of food and fluids during labour increases women's discomfort, anxiety and stress which are associated with obstruction of the normal process of labour. Whilst research evidence and clinical guidelines recommend that normal uncomplicated labouring women should not be limited in their oral intake during labour, some midwives continue to restrict or discourage women's oral intake. To promote best practice, it is important to understand the influencing factors which affect midwives’ decision-making processes. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the influences that affect midwifery practice regarding oral food and fluid intake for low-risk labouring women. Design: An interpretive descriptive approach employed 12 semi-structured interviews with registered midwives with current labour and birthing experience in Australia. Data was analysed using thematic analysis. Findings: Three themes were identified: midwives’ knowledge and beliefs; work environment and women's expectations of care. Midwives’ practice was affected by their knowledge and values developed from professional and personal experiences of labour, their context of practice and work environment, the clinical guidelines, policies and obstetric control, and women's choice and comfort. Conclusion: This study indicates that midwives’ decision-making in relation to women's oral nutrition during labour is multifaceted and influenced by complicated environments, models of care, and power relations between doctors and midwives, more so than clinical guidelines. It is important for midwives to be aware of factors negatively influencing their decision-making processes to enable autonomy and empowerment in the provision of evidence-based care of labouring women.

History

Journal

Women and birth

Volume

33

Issue

5

Pagination

e455 - e463

Publisher

Elsevier

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

1871-5192

eISSN

1878-1799

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal