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ADVANCING PRACTICE Effective non-pharmacological birth interventions

Jude Davis

Community and birth centre midwife in London

 (February 2015)

Midwifery expertise is in ‘normal’ birth. What constitutes ‘normal’ is debatable, but well embedded within ‘normal’ are the birth plans of women who aspire to give birth without using drugs. To give birth without drugs for many may seem undesirable or intolerable, especially to those whose cultural references to birth have been overwhelmingly negative, fearful or risk-obsessed. However, significant numbers of women have confidence in their innate ability to birth their babies and are rightfully concerned about the undesirable side effects of pharmacological interventions. As well as providing wider choice for women, looking for alternative ways of addressing pain and progress in labour enhances birth attendants’ knowledge and becomes a delightful journey of discovering the ancient and modern arts of midwifery. Shared here are a collection of ideas to contribute to the toolkit of knowledge about non-pharmacological interventions.