The impact and outcomes of the implementation of the Wakefield Birth Centre

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Jones, Pat ; Phillips, Mari ; Deery, Ruth ; Ashby, Jo
  • Publisher: University of Huddersfield
  • Subject: RG | R1

In today’s western society childbirth takes place mainly in hospital settings and is under the\ud control of doctors (Kirkham, 2003). More recently there have been concerns about\ud increasingly high caesarean section rates (ref), the decreasing number of practising midwives\ud (Ball et al. 2002) and the worryingly small number of women experiencing a natural birth\ud (Page, 2003).\ud Maternity services at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust provide for a social, cultural\ud and ethnically diverse community and manage 3,600 births per year. Following\ud reconfiguration in February 2002, including the relocation of hospital maternity services, the\ud trust decided to implement some of the Department of Health’s Action Plan and open a standalone\ud Birth Centre in Wakefield.\ud Birth centres are facilities that provide individualised and family centred maternity care, with\ud an emphasis on skilled, sensitive and respectful midwifery care. They provide a relaxed and\ud informal environment where women are encouraged to labour at their own pace. Birth\ud Centres seek to promote physiological childbirth by recognising, respecting and safeguarding\ud normal birth processes. This philosophy enables women and their families to experience a\ud positive start to parenthood (Shallow, 2001, Kirkham, 2003). Midwives are also able to\ud practise “real midwifery” (Kirkham, 2003, p.14).\ud The overall aim of this research was therefore to evaluate the impact and outcomes of the\ud implementation of the Wakefield Birth Centre.\ud The research was funded by the Centre for Health and Social Care Research (CHSCR) at the\ud University of Huddersfield. Ethical advice was sought through School Research and Ethics\ud Panel (SREP) at the university of Huddersfield and ethical approval was granted by the Local\ud Research Ethics Committee (LREC) and the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Research\ud and Development.
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