Maintaining Normality Essay

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This essay will analyse care the author provided with reference to the case study outlined in appendix A. The focus of the essay will be the support provided to facilitate breastfeeding both at the birth and throughout the postpartum period and how this support enabled this aspect of childbirth to remain ‘normal’. The evidence used to inform decision-making will be discussed and Paige’s five steps of evidence-based midwifery incorporated (Appendix B) as a tool for problem solving. All names have been changed to protect confidentiality and in line with NMC guidelines (NMC, 2004). At 39 weeks gestation Judy contacted the author at the onset of labour. Upon arrival at the local hospital and during palpation it became apparent to the author that the baby was infact in the breech position. After involvement of the obstetric team it was decided that the baby would be delivered in theatre by caesarian section. The decision to operate in order to deliver the baby required the knowledge and skills of the medical team as a breech position is considered within the current paradigm of childbirth in the developed world as a deviation from normality. Normality in childbirth is a ‘construct’ (Paige, 2004, p.105) defined by differing expectations of birth determined by the culture in which we live. Midwives in the United Kingdom specialize in normal birth and require the skills to recognise deviations from normality (Paige, 2004). Paige (2004) however questions what constitutes ‘normal’ as a rise in operative deliveries and increased use of interventions and epidural anaesthesia could define this as ‘normal’ within the current paridgm of childbirth. Breastfeeding is advocated as a means of reducing inequalities in health in both the short and longer terms (NICE, 2005) and the health benefits to both mother and baby are vast (UNICEF, 2004, Blincoe, 2005).

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