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Midwifery. 1999 Dec;15(4):257-63.

To see or not to see? Midwives' perceptions of reduced antenatal attendances for 'low-risk' women.

Author information

1
Division of Primary Care, Bristol University, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To explore the views of midwives towards traditional and flexible schedules of antenatal attendance for women at low risk.

DESIGN:

A qualitative approach using focus groups.

SETTING:

Three NHS Trusts providing maternity care in and around Bristol.

SAMPLE:

14 midwives who had provided antenatal care to women participating in the Bristol Antenatal Care Study.

FINDINGS:

Midwives generally expressed support for a move away from the traditional schedule of antenatal attendances, suggesting that this represented a move towards the acceptance of pregnancy as a normal life event. They recognised that some women would prefer flexible care and the possibility of a reduction in the number of antenatal attendances. However, they suggested that some women would require additional information in order to feel confident in these circumstances. The midwives also recognised that both they and pregnant women have reservations about reducing contact during the antenatal period. Central to these reservations is a concern that women's psychosocial as well as physical needs may go unmet if antenatal contact is reduced.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

Although in principle supporting a move away from the traditional schedule of antenatal attendances, the reservations felt by midwives towards a reduction in antenatal attendances are reflected in their practice. These concerns currently impede any radical move away from the traditional schedule of antenatal check-ups and will need to be addressed by midwifery managers prior to the implementation of a more flexible schedule of antenatal attendances, if any such change is to be sustainable.

PMID:
11216259
DOI:
10.1054/midw.1999.0183
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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