Original Research

Factors hindering midwives’ utilisation of alternative birth positions during labour in a selected public hospital

Maurine R. Musie, Mmapheko D. Peu, Varshika Bhana-Pema
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 11, No 1 | a2071 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v11i1.2071 | © 2019 Maurine Rofhiwa Musie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 March 2019 | Published: 17 September 2019

About the author(s)

Maurine R. Musie, Department of Nursing Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Mmapheko D. Peu, Department of Nursing Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Varshika Bhana-Pema, Department of Nursing Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: An evidence-based practice suggests that the birth position adopted by women during labour has a significant impact on the maternal and neonatal birth outcomes. The birth positions are endorsed by guidelines of maternity care in South Africa, which documented that women in labour should be allowed to select the birth position of their choice, preferably alternative birth positions (including upright, kneeling, squatting and lateral positions) during labour. Thus, the lithotomy birth position should be avoided. However, despite available literature, midwives routinely position women in the lithotomy position during normal vertex births, which causes several adverse maternal outcomes (namely prolonged labour, postpartum haemorrhage) and adverse neonatal outcomes (such as foetal asphyxia and respiratory compromise).

Aim: The aim was to explore and describe factors hindering midwives’ utilisation of alternative birth positions during labour in a selected public hospital.

Setting: A public hospital in the Tshwane district, Pretoria were used in the study.

Methods: This study used the qualitative, exploratory and descriptive research design. This design gathered quality information on factors hindering midwives’ utilisation of alternative birth positions during labour in a selected public hospital.

Results: The study revealed the following themes: (1) midwives’ perceptions on alternative use of birth positions and (2) barriers to utilisation of alternative birth positions. The themes were discussed and validated through the use of a literature review.

Conclusion: The lack of skills and training during the midwifery undergraduate and postgraduate programme contributes to the midwives being incompetent to utilise alternative birth positions during clinical practice.


Keywords

Alternative birth positions; Factors; Midwives; Labour; Utilisation

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