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Testing the waters: A cross-sectional survey of views about waterbirth among Swedish health professionals
Sophiahemmet Högskola.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9718-754X
Karolinska Institutet.
Karolinska Institutet / Sophiahemmet Högskola.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2626-2335
2019 (English)In: Women and Birth, ISSN 1871-5192, E-ISSN 1878-1799Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: For women with low risk births, waterbirth is an alternative that is requested and provided in approximately a hundred countries. However, in some countries, including Sweden, waterbirth is not generally available.

AIM: To explore the experiences, knowledge and attitudes regarding waterbirth among midwives, obstetricians/gynaecologists and neonatologists.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Sweden, using a web-based survey distributed via The Swedish Association of Midwives and the Heads of department of all Swedish maternity wards between April and June 2016. The respondents (n = 1609) answered a combination of Likert-scale and open-ended questions. The responses were analysed with descriptive statistics and quantitative content analyses.

FINDINGS: Both midwives and physicians stated a lack of experience, knowledge and clinical guidelines related to attending and assisting waterbirths. Overall, midwives had more positive attitudes to waterbirth (38.8% vs 4.5%) as well as towards providing and implementing waterbirth, compared to physicians (71.0% vs 14.9%). Midwives stated significantly more benefits and fewer risks for women and babies, compared to physicians who requested more evidence.

CONCLUSIONS: Opinions regarding waterbirth are to some extent based on attitudes rather than actual experience and knowledge. There are diverse interpretations of the strength of evidence and a lack of updating in the research field of waterbirth. As waterbirth is requested by women, health professionals need to update their knowledge in this topic in order to give coherent and evidence-based information and care to prospective parents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019.
Keywords [en]
Birth, Midwifery, Training, Water immersion, Waterbirth
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:rkh:diva-2895DOI: 10.1016/j.wombi.2019.04.003PubMedID: 31054879OAI: oai:DiVA.org:rkh-2895DiVA, id: diva2:1324951
Available from: 2019-05-09 Created: 2019-06-14Bibliographically approved

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Ulfsdottir, HannaGeorgsson, Susanne
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CiteExportLink to record
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