Continuous supervision of childbirth means that maternity nurses take action at an early stage. They go to the woman’s home as soon as the midwife signals them. There they guide the woman and her possible partner practically and emotionally, including breathing and massage exercises. They also accompany them to the hospital to provide support in the delivery room, even if the birth is supervised by the gynaecologist.
First major Dutch study
International studies have already shown that this form of continuous guidance can provide positive results. In the Netherlands, however, no major study had yet been conducted into its effect, despite the fact that here too recommendations have been made to deploy maternity nurses earlier. Reason for Scheepers and her colleagues to investigate this further: “If we think this is a better form of care, then we should facilitate this in the Netherlands.” For the study, the team examined just over 1000 deliveries in Limburg. They worked together with maternity care centers, hospitals in the region and health insurers VGZ and CZ. The Academy of Midwifery Maastricht-Zuyd University of Applied Sciences has developed additional training for maternity nurses to be able to perform the extra task properly.
Less pain relief and caesarean sections
The study compared women who received continuous counseling with women who did not. The results show that in the group with continuous supervision, 40% fewer epidurals, 40% less additional pain medication and 50% fewer caesarean sections were required. In addition, there were 10% more spontaneous deliveries and women spent less time in hospital. The early deployment of guidance also resulted in a cost saving of €180 per delivery.
Gynecologist Liesbeth Scheepers: “These results show that the extra use of maternity care appears to be an effective intervention. Further research is needed to see if it is suitable for all women in the Netherlands.”
Fewer caesarean sections due to continuous deployment of maternity nurses during childbirth
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