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Quick Hit x4: Four Papers of Interest to Childbirth Educators

The blog has been quiet for longer than usual. I had a great family vacation at the beginning of the month and came back to deadlines. I’ve got a pile of blog posts half-written and some good stuff in the pipeline, but I thought I’d share a few papers of interest to childbirth educators in the meantime. I don’t have the time to give these the full critical treatment, but I knew my CBE readers (and maybe others) would want to know about them.

1. The current issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN) has several articles on disaster preparedness efforts for childbearing women and newborns. I was happy to see this since I wrote recently that this topic has gotten too little attention. One of the articles, titled Targeting Prenatal Emergency Preparedness Through Childbirth Education, suggests including disaster preparedness in childbirth education offerings,  proposes a topical outline for curriculum development, and reviews relevant literature on disaster planning, evacuation and public sheltering, and the mental health consequences of disasters for childbearing women.

2. In the journal, Medical Decision Making, researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration present the outcomes of qualitative research aimed at improving consumers’ comprehension of “plain language summaries” of Cochrane Systematic Reviews. The results, as presented in the abstract, reveal that consumers have very limited knowledge of what a systematic review is and how to interpret findings, a problem of major importance to perinatal educators who wish to convey evidence from systematic reviews.

Participants preferred results presented as words, supplemented by numbers in a table. There was a lack of understanding regarding the difference between a review and an individual study, that the effect is rarely an exact number, that evidence can be of low or high quality, and that level of quality is a separate issue from intervention effect…Confidence intervals were largely ignored or misunderstood. Our attempts to explain them were only partially successful. Text modifiers (‘probably,’ ‘may’) to convey different levels of quality were only partially understood, whereas symbols with explanations were more helpful. Participants often understood individual information elements about effect size and quality of these results, but did not always actively merge these elements.

As a result of these findings, the Cochrane Collaboration is currently evaluating a new format for Plain Language Summaries.

3. An article in press in the journal Midwifery reports findings from a qualitative study of 11 first-time fathers’ expectations and experiences of being present during labor and birth. Two of the fathers’ partners gave birth by elective cesarean section, two had emergency cesareans, three had  instrumental births and four had a spontaneous vaginal births. All of the couples had taken hospital antenatal classes. Most of the fathers reported in prenatal and postnatal interviews:

  • feeling disconnected from their partners during pregnancy and labor
  • feeling on the periphery of events during labor
  • feeling ill prepared for and alienated from decision-making, and
  • “becoming a father” and reconnecting with the experience and their partners at the moment of birth.

The authors concluded,

Birth is the moment that fathers ascribe as the beginning of fatherhood. However, through their lack of knowledge and perceived control, they struggle to find a role there.

4. And finally, my article, Social Media, Power, and the Future of VBAC, co-authored with Hilary Gerber and Desirre Andrews, is out in the current issue of the Journal of Perinatal Education and it’s FREE! The article reviews the contemporary consumer movement for improved access to VBAC and explores the role of social media in enabling access to evidence-based information and peer support. It’s my contribution to the “Looking Back/Looking Forward” issue of the Journal, which marks and celebrates Lamaze’s 50th anniversary. I hope to feature much more from this important issue of the Journal, but in the meantime members can access the full issue for free.

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  1. September 5th, 2010 at 23:17 | #1

    Would love to read your article, but the link doesn’t seem to be working… :(

  2. September 6th, 2010 at 07:12 | #2

    @tanya@motherwearblog
    I just checked the URL in multiple browsers and it seems to work for me. The design of the page is markedly different from last time I saw it, though, so I wonder if the page was inactive for a period of time while they upgraded. Let me know if you continue to have problems. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/lamaze/jpe/2010/00000019/00000003/art00009

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