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The New Midwifery: Science and Sensitivity in Practice (2nd Ed).

Page, L.A., & McCandlish R. (2006) Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier ISBN: 100-443-10002-0

In their commitment to 'creative questioning' the authors of the second edition of this popular book, ask: Does midwifery care do more good than harm? Is the midwife spending time doing the right things?

As midwives we perceive our role to be working with women and promoting good health. However, the authors and the many contributors of this book discuss the difficulties of working in settings in which the midwife is unable to utilize the full potential of the midwifery role. The book has been organized into three sections. In turn these sections discuss how midwives can develop their roles in practice to ensure that they have a positive relationship with women, work at avoiding harm by using best information/evidence in practice, and have adequate skills to provide effective care and support.

Section One: Transition to parenting and relationships in practice--working with women.

This is the largest section and starts with a discussion by Mary Newburn about what women want from care around the time of birth. It describes the National Childbirth Trust's campaigns in the United Kingdom (UK) to improve maternity care and ensure that high quality services are available for all women and their families. Maggie Redshaw then outlines attachment theory, and the growth of love and commitment within families. Christine McCourt continues the theme of parental transitions in her chapter which gives an overview of the social and cultural aspects of parenting and theoretical views on adjustment.

It's great to see a chapter by Sally Pairman describing the New Zealand midwifery partnership. Her chapter provides an overview of the development of midwifery partnership within New Zealand and how the Treaty of Waitangi has influenced the cultural, social, political and economic relationships within New Zealand society. The history of New Zealand's maternity service is discussed and how partnership is incorporated into the midwifery relationship.

Nicky Leap and Nadine Edwards co-author a chapter about the politics of involving women in decision making. They discuss the constraints of 'informed' decision-making when the information that is being provided is restricted to what is thought to be relevant by the health professional giving the information. They discuss choice, control, safety and risk as applied within a technocratic culture of maternity care. Practical advice on facilitating rather than steering decision making, real communication and the value of story telling are included in this interesting chapter.

Section Two: Putting science into practice.

The second section discusses evidence based midwifery care. It provides an overview of evidence and discusses the five steps for the use of evidence in practice as previously outlined by Lesley Page in the first edition of this book. This section also provides an overview of finding and appraising research, risk assessment, theoretical or actual, and a discussion of why research is necessary in midwifery.

Section Three: Promoting healthy birth, using midwifery skills and the organization of practice.

A public health perspective on maternity care is the priority for this section of the book. There is a discussion on epidemiology and identifying populations with problems, as well as a look at the UK government's actions aimed at reducing health inequalities. Chapters look at how antenatal care is being used to promote optimal health and what is normal when we discuss normal birth. Practical information is provided for midwives to help and protect normality during birth.

This second edition is a mix of theory and practice discussion designed to enhance a midwife's ability to provide evidence based care. Individual case stories are discussed by the contributors to demonstrate how to evaluate and assess the evidence with the importance of reflection being highlighted as part of the whole process. Whilst this book is targeted to UK midwives and mostly discusses the UK model of midwifery, it is a useful book for any midwife, anywhere in the world, to read.

Reviewer: Lesley Dixon, RM BA MA

PhD candidate Victoria University of Wellington.

NZCOM Practice and Education Advisor
COPYRIGHT 2007 New Zealand College of Midwives
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Dixon, Lesley
Publication:New Zealand College of Midwives Journal
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2007
Words:665
Previous Article:A hermeneutic analysis of the rise of midwifery scholarship in New Zealand.
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