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Childbirth care practices in public sector facilities in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: A descriptive study

Altaweli, R. F., McCourt, C. & Baron, M. (2014). Childbirth care practices in public sector facilities in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: A descriptive study. Midwifery, 30(7), pp. 899-909. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2014.03.006


Objectives: To explore reported hospital policies and practices during normal childbirth in maternity wards in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to assess and verify whether these practices are evidence-based. Design: Quantitative design, in the form of a descriptive questionnaire, based on a tool extracted from the literature. Setting: Nine government hospitals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. These hospitals have varied ownership, including Ministry of Health (MOH), military, teaching and other government hospitals. Participants: Key individuals responsible for the day-to-day running of the maternity ward. Measurements: Nine interviews using descriptive structured questionnaire were conducted. Data were analysed using SPSS for Windows (version 16.0). Findings: The surveyed hospitals were found to be well equipped to deal with obstetric emergencies, and many follow evidence-based procedures. On average, the Caesarean section rate was found to be 22.4%, but with considerable variances between hospitals. Some unnecessary procedures that are known to be ineffective or harmful and that are not recommended for routine use, including pubic shaving, enemas, episiotomy, electronic foetal monitoring (EFM) and intravenous (IV) infusion, were found to be frequently practiced. Only 22% of the hospitals sampled reported allowing a companion to attend labour and delivery. Key Conclusions: Many aspects of recommended EBP were used in the hospitals studied. However, the results of this study clearly indicate that there is wide variation between hospitals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in some obstetric practices. Furthermore, the findings suggest that some practices at these hospitals are not supported by evidence as being beneficial for mothers or babies and are positively discouraged under international guidelines. Implications for practice: This study has specific implications for obstetricians, midwives and nurses working in maternity Units. It gives an overview of current hospital policies and practices during normal childbirth. It is likely to contribute to improving the health and well-being of women, and have implications for service provision. It could also help in the development of technical information for policy-makers, and health care professionals for normal childbirth care.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Childbirth; Interventions; Policy; Hospital practices; Evidence-based practice; Survey; Saudi Arabia
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
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