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Risk in Maternity Care: A Concept Analysis

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AIM: To analyze the concept of risk in maternity care.

DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE (1966–2010), CINAHL (1980–2010), EMBASE (1980–2010), PsycINFO (1980–2010), and Social Science Citation Index were searched. Key text books were sourced. Media literature was reviewed by perusal of newspaper articles, health supplements, and popular Internet health care websites.

REVIEW METHODS: The principle-based method of concept analysis was used to guide the analysis of risk in maternity care.

RESULTS: The epistemological principle identified the ambiguous nature of the risk concept, with risk having diverse meanings for different individuals. The pragmatic principle demonstrated that the current systematic approach to risk assessment often fails to identify those who succumb to risk issues. The linguistic principle portrays the ambiguity of risk perception with “risk” considered according to past experiences, knowledge, and individual attitudes. The logical principle identified a strong link between safety and uncertainty revealing that the risk concept lacks integrity and may not “hold its own.”

CONCLUSION: The concept of risk in maternity care is concerned with risk assessment, risk perception, and notions of safety and uncertainty. Risk in maternity care is diverse and dynamic. What constitutes as a risk today may not necessarily be viewed in the same light tomorrow.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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  • The International Journal of Childbirth is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal publishing original research, reviews, and case studies concerned with the practice of midwifery, women's health, prenatal care, and the birth process. The journal encourages the exploration of the complex and contextual issues surrounding childbirth provision and outcomes and invites manuscripts from a wide range of clinical, theoretical, political, methodological, psychological, public health, policy, and multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives.
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