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Title: Care of obese women during labour : the development of a midwifery intervention to promote normal birth
Author: Kerrigan, Angela Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 2622
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2017
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Normal birth, defined as birth without induction of labour, anaesthetic, instruments or caesarean section conveys significant maternal and neonatal benefits. Currently one-fifth of women in the United Kingdom are obese. There is increasing evidence of the detrimental effects obesity has on intrapartum outcomes. There is a lack of research on how to minimise the associated risks of obesity through non-medicalised interventions and how to support obese women to maximise their opportunity for normal birth. This thesis aims to provide evidence to address this gap and develop an evidence-based intervention to promote normal birth. Using a methodological approach aligned with pragmatism, this research was conducted in four parts and underpinned by the Medical Research Council framework for the development of complex interventions. Part one was a national survey involving 24 maternity units. Part two was a qualitative study of the experiences of 24 health professionals and part three involved 8 obese women. The final part was a multi-disciplinary workshop that used consensus decision-making to design the intervention. Collectively, the findings suggest that intrapartum care of obese women is medicalised. Health professionals face challenges when caring for obese women but many strive to optimise the potential for normal birth by challenging practice and utilising ‘interventions’ to promote normality. The findings also demonstrate that obese women have an intrinsic fear of pregnancy and birth, have a desire for normal birth and ‘obese pregnancy’ presents a window of opportunity for change. The intervention consists of three component parts; an educational aspect (e-learning package), a clinical aspect (intrapartum care pathway) and a leadership aspect (ward champions). Whilst acknowledging the importance of safety, increasing intervention during labour for obese women may further increase the risk of complications, with detrimental effects. Addressing intrapartum management of obese women through non-medicalised interventions is of paramount importance in order to promote normality, maximise the opportunity for normal birth and reduce the associated morbidities.
Supervisor: Cheyne, Helen ; Duncan, Edward ; Kingdon, Carol Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: obese ; obesity ; labour ; normal birth ; intervention ; midwifery ; Pregnancy--Complications ; Obesity ; Natural childbirth ; Maternity care