Working with women in childbirth

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The selected publications presented here are concerned with the development of practice and knowledge in midwifery. The thesis underlying the publications is that the development of a positive personal relationship between women and their midwives is fundamental to effective and sensitive midwifery care. The methodology used is essentially different to the thesis written prospectively. This is because the publications presented arise from years of work informed by 'hands on' practice, development of policy, leading change and development, supported by research and communicated and disseminated through writing. The work presented therefore could be viewed as a long research project, with these activities forming an iterative process in thinking through and writing for publication, as well as continuing practice development and research. The extended essay serves to introduce the publications and show how they are linked through common themes developed over time. It also demonstrates the originality, importance and contribution of the publications. The publications presented may be viewed conceptually in a number of different ways however these are all related to the relationship between women and their midwives. The essay is presented in sections. The first is the Introduction to key concepts and theories. The second is The Midwife with Woman Relationship. This introduces publications that describe the nature and purpose of the relationship. The third section, Changing Practice: the New Midwifery is concerned with what the midwife does in the context of that relationship. Publications introduced in this section propose ways of working in the best interests of women and their families. The fourth section, Influencing Policy Nationally and internationally, is concerned with the creation of national policy that has supported the development of what I have called the New Midwifery. The fifth section, Transformative Change and Rediscovering Midwifery is concerned with developing the organisation and culture of care, that is its context, to enable midwives to work in the best interests of women and their families. The sixth section Developing Patterns of Practice that Enable Personal Relationships Between Women and Midwives: One-to-One Midwifery introduces publications concerned with the development and evaluation of new structures that facilitate continuity of care and thereby relationship.
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