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Free Content Many Women and Providers Are Unprepared for an Evidence-Based, Educated Conversation About Birth

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Findings from recent Canadian studies on the knowledge and beliefs about birth practices among first-time pregnant women and among obstetricians and other birth providers indicate that many women are inadequately informed and many providers deliver non-evidence-based maternity care. Consequently, informed decision making is problematic for pregnant women and their providers. New strategies are needed to inform pregnant women about key procedures and approaches that might be used in birth so they can have an educated, shared discussion with their provider and successfully advocate for their preferred birth experience. In addition, providers can be encouraged to supplement their knowledge with current, evidence-based maternity care practices. To avoid a lack of informed decision making and to ensure that natural, safe, and healthy birth practices are based on current evidence, pregnant women and providers must work together to inform themselves and to add childbirth to the women’s health agenda.

Keywords: attitudes; cesarean surgery; epidural analgesia; evidence-based medicine; health personnel; labor

Document Type: Guest Editorial


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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