OBJECTIVES: to measure the extent to which documented Swedish midwifery care for low-risk labour and birth followed the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommendations for care in normal birth, and to compare midwifery care given to women who's labours were classified as low and high risk. STUDY DESIGN: a retrospective examination of midwifery and medical records, 144 from women with low-risk births and 54 from women with high-risk births, for aspects of pregnancy, labour and birth using a validated instrument based on WHO's recommendations. SETTING: southern Sweden. OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: care given in accordance with WHO's four categories of practice and changes in risk group during the birth process. FINDINGS: care interventions not recommended by WHO, such as routine establishment of an intravenous route, routine amniotomy during the first stage, continuous electronic fetal monitoring and pharmacological methods of pain relief, were widespread in the records. Documented care differed little between the labours of women at low risk and high risk. The midwives at the unit under study did not routinely carry out risk assessment. KEY CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: the mode of care was one of readiness for medical intervention. The act of carrying out risk assessments at the time of the woman's admission may affect awareness of the level of care offered to birthing women, and thus help to reduce the number and variety of practices not recommended by WHO.
Bibliographical noteThe information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Nursing (Closed 2012) (013065000)
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