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Reflect on the skill practiced in meeting the need of a labouring woman in encouragement to eating and drinking in labour.

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Eating and drinking in labour is a controversial issue for some women. However, most women wish to eat and drink in early labour. Although some women do not want to eat, particularly in the later stages, but midwives do understands the implication of eating and drinking or fasting in labour. Hence, it is important for the midwife to be effective in her role encouraging women to eating and drinking in labour. This essay aim to reflect on the skill practiced in meeting the need of a labouring woman in encouragement to eating and drinking in labour. A woman looked after will be called Kate for the purpose of this essay. The author will explain the physiological effect of restricting eating and drinking in labour. The policy on eating and drinking will be discussed. A review of what have been learnt from available evidence on eating and will be analysed. A conclusion will be drawn. The Gibbs cycle (1988) will be employed as a reflective framework. Smith (1995) explained that reflection is an intellectual and affective activity through which individuals explore their experiences in order to develop new understanding and appreciation. Confidentiality is maintained throughout by not disclosing the identity of the woman. ...read more.


In analysing the issue of encouraging Kate to eat and drink during labour. Pengelley and Gyte (1998) stated that the issue around eating and drinking in labour is very controversial in the western world. Michael et al. (1991) demonstrated the variation in a survey of maternity units in England and Wales. Most of the unit that replied, 79.5% had written policy for oral intake in labour and approximately one-third permitted drinks to be taken by all women without a selection criteria the remaining two third was determined by a risk assessment of the woman. The author did not realise there is policies on performing the skill on eating and drinking in labour, it has become just like routine encouraging women to eat and drink but looking from available evidence from 1940s to 1990s most hospital advised to keep women "nil by mouth" or on "only fluids" during labour; to reduce or eliminate Mendelson's syndrome (1946). The policies now seem to have been replaced by 'clear fluids', especially for low-risk labouring women. However, it was noted in Myles Textbook for midwives that opinions vary widely within different hospitals with some restricting women to ice chips once labour is established while others allow a light diet and free fluids throughout labour (Bennett and Brown, 1996). ...read more.


Sharp (1997) states despite this is not supported by research women are still denied oral intake guided with variation of hospital policies of maternity unit in England and Wales. Reflection is about understanding and changing practice. The author felt participating in the skill has broadened her knowledge and information on eating and drinking in labour. The skill had given the author the ability to encourage and advice women on eating and drinking during their labour. In conclusion the essay has reflected on the skill practised in encouragement of women to eating and drinking during labour. The policy on eating and drinking was discussed. The author has review what was learnt from available evidence on eating and drinking in labour and a case study on Kate. The evidence have clearly shown that the system in the UK is inconsistent and illogical and it is hardly surprising that midwives and trainee anaesthetists feels no compulsion to follow the different local protocol. Furthermore, the reviews highlight the need for more evidence about the obstetric risks and benefits of feeding. Finally the author will recognise key elements of similar experience and combine them into innovative solutions individually designed for new problem. The author is confident that she will be able to handle similar situation if it should arise again. ...read more.

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