Childbirth practices in jordanian public hospitals: Consistency with evidence-based maternity care?

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Journal Article
International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare, 2011, 9 (1), pp. 25 - 31
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Background: In 1996, the World Health Organization stated that 'childbirth is a natural process and in normal birth, there should be a valid reason to interfere with this natural process' and encouraged practices that are evidence-based. The practices encouraged included avoiding unnecessary augmentation of labour, facilitating upright position for birth and restricting the use of routine episiotomy. Many countries have been slow to fully implement evidence-based practice in maternity care. The aim of this study was to examine maternity hospital practices in Jordan and assess their consistency with evidence-based maternity care. Methods: An explorative research design with non-participant observation was used. Data were collected from low-risk women during labour and birth using a questionnaire for maternal characteristics and an observational checklist. A proportional stratified sample was selected to recruit from three major public hospitals in Jordan. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: A total of 460 women were observed during labour and birth. The majority were multiparous (80%). A range of interventions were observed in women having a normal labour including augmentation (95%), continuous external fetal monitoring (77%), lithotomy position for birth (100%), and more than one third (37%) had an episiotomy with varying degrees of laceration (58%). Conclusions: Childbirth practices were largely not in accordance with the World Health Organization evidencebased practices for normal birth. High levels of interventions were observed, many of which may not have been necessary in this low-risk population. Further work needs to occur to explore the reasons why evidence-based practice is not implemented in these hospitals. © 2011 The Authors. International Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare © 2011 The Joanna Briggs Institute.
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