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Midwifery. 2012 Feb;28(1):61-6. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2010.10.014. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

The best of both worlds--parents' motivations for using an alongside birth centre from an ethnographic study.

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  • 1Head of Research and Information, NCT, Oldham Terrace, London W3 6NH, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE AND DESIGN:

An ethnographic study was undertaken in a birth centre to explore the model of care provided there from the perspectives of midwives and parents.

SETTING:

A five birthing-room, alongside, inner-city, birth centre in England, situated one floor below the hospital labour ward, separately staffed by purposively recruited midwives.

PARTICIPANTS:

Around 114 hours were spent at the birth centre observing antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care; 11 in-depth interviews were recorded with parents after their baby's birth (four with women; seven with women and men together), including three interviews with women who transferred to the labour ward, and 11 with staff (nine midwives and two maternity assistants).

FINDINGS:

Most women and men using the birth centre perceived it as offering the 'best of both worlds' based on its proximity to and separation from the labour ward. It seemed to offer a combination of biopsychosocial safety, made evident by the calm, welcoming atmosphere, the facilities, engaging, respectful care from known midwives and a clear commitment to normal birth, and obstetric safety particularly because of its close proximity to the labour ward.

KEY CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

This alongside birth centre provided a social model of care and appealed strongly to a group of parents; similar birth centres should be widely available throughout the NHS.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
21163560
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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