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MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2000 Nov-Dec;25(6):300-4.

A critical evaluation of the past 25 years of perinatal nursing practice: opportunities for improvement.

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  • 1St. John's Mercy Medical Center, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.


Changes in perinatal nursing over the past 25 years have been abundant. Nursing advocacy has contributed to the introduction of innovations such as single-room maternity care and family-centered care, and to the end of restrictive practices such as the use of hand and leg restraints during birth, routine use of episiotomy, and routine general anesthesia for normal births. Perinatal nursing involves complex clinical interventions, intensive patient and family education, empathetic support and evaluation of family dynamics, and a wide range of opportunities to make a difference in the lives of mothers, babies, and families. The strengths and weaknesses of perinatal nursing practice at the beginning of the new century are chronicled, and suggestions for improvements are made.

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