Saturday, December 15, 2007

Evidence Based Care

Simply put, evidence based care is care that is based on the best available evidence (research, studies, accurate, up-to-date published materials) and upon the individual woman’s unique situation. Any interventions are applied judiciously and with consideration of true medical indication and also the needs of the woman. Evidence based care is different than “routines” or “policies” which may or may not have a basis in evidence.

Childbirth Connection defines evidence based care as: "using the best research about the effects of specific procedures, drugs, tests, and treatments, to help guide decision-making."

The excellent exhaustive research summary and review A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy & Childbirth (also available for free download from Childbirth Connection) includes a helpful series of six tables classifying hundreds of maternity practices according to effectiveness and safety. The tables range from: "Beneficial forms of care" to “Forms of care likely to be ineffective or harmful.” Pregnant women and their support people may wish to refer to these tables in order to be informed consumers of the care they are being offered. They may also wish to refer to the tables and to the rest of the book if they are concerned about a test or procedure recommended by their caregiver or if they would like to suggest a practice that differs from that offered "routinely" at the location where they are choosing to birth or if they would like to double check the consistency of their local policies, procedures, and routines with the scientific research.

Lamaze's Six Care Practices, referenced earlier in this blog, are evidence-based practices that promote, support and protect normal birth.

Finally, Citizens for Midwifery has an excellent fact sheet summarizing the evidence behind the Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative’s 10 Steps.

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