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Midwifery. 2003 Mar;19(1):37-45.

A qualitative study exploring junior paediatricians', midwives', GPs' and mothers' experiences and views of the examination of the newborn baby.

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Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, UK.



to explore the experiences and attitudes of midwives, junior paediatricians (SHOs), GPs, and mothers to the examination of the newborn baby. To provide an appreciation of their views on several issues, in particular the purpose and value of the examination, who is thought to be appropriate to carry it out and when and where it should take place.


qualitative using semi-structured interviews, which were exploratory and interactive, in order to examine the range and diversity of experiences and attitudes to the neonatal examination.


South-east England.


four samples were purposefully selected to include ten each of midwives, SHOs, GPs and recently delivered mothers. SHOs were currently working in paediatric departments of a district general hospital or teaching hospital and their experience of conducting examinations of the newborn baby ranged from several months to several years. Midwives included both those trained in the examination and currently conducting examinations, and those not so trained and not carrying out the examination. Most of the midwives had been qualified for over ten years and had a wide range of clinical experience in hospital and community settings. The GPs were from ten practices in two Health Authorities and all had some experience of conducting neonatal examinations. Of the mothers, a few had had their babies examined at home by midwives, others in hospital by an SHO. Mothers included those with a family history of problems relevant to the examination, those with previous pregnancy complications and others with no problems or complications. Some were first-time mothers.


all groups perceived the examination to be a useful screening tool providing reassurance to parents. They considered both midwives and SHOs to be appropriate professionals to carry out the examination, if adequately trained. Most thought that midwives have a better rapport with mothers, are able to provide continuity of care and more often discuss health-care issues than do SHOs. Few SHOs reported receiving any formal training in the examination of the newborn baby.


the extension of the practice of midwives examining the newborn baby following relevant training would be acceptable to all stakeholders. The implications of increased demands on the midwives' workload may need to be considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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