Many procedures offered by midwives during labour and birth are based on best practice. They are chosen to deliver high-quality care that promotes best outcomes.
Best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means. It is acknowledged that best practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered.
The concept of best practice can be seen throughout every industry and professional discipline. Areas such as IT, construction, transportation, business management, sustainable development etc all use the concept of best practice to ensure high standards.
Yet not everything offered is best practice. Sometimes it’s good practice. A Midwife may know from their own experience that there is an option that is a good option. If asked about alternatives they could explain why they make this choice and how best practice is always evolving and soon this may become best practice but until then their experience and knowledge leads them to believe it’s a good option.
Occasionally, as in any profession there may be a healthcare professional that does things their way despite the evidence and best practice guidelines just because that’s the way they’ve always done it. When challenged they may not have a reason other than – this is how I was trained, this is how I’ve always done it, this is ‘my practice’.
There have been examples of this recently on some of the television programmes following midwives. We’ve seen things that are neither best nor good practice and would fit into the category of ‘my practice’ .
There was a story in a local newspaper this week about a midwife who recognised that the ‘best practice’ of routinely cutting the cord immediately after birth might not be the best option for a baby.
She researched, audited and voiced her concerns. The response from the Royal College of Midwives supported her findings.
Chief Executive Prof Cathy Warwick said: “The Royal College of Midwives fully supports your observations that practice should be changed in relation to cord clamping at birth.”
The Midwife, Amanda Burleigh from Leeds said, “This is a huge step forwards and confirms that the practice of immediate cord clamping was not evidence-based and needs to be changed.”
So think about your birth, what are your preferences, what might your options be – what would your choice be?