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Oxford Handbook of Midwifery
(2nd Edition)

Wednesday, 06 December 2023

7 Day Health Service
A great ideal
Can the Government make it work?

Editors: Janet Medforth, Susan Battersby, Maggie Evans, Beverly Marsh and Angela Walker

The first edition of this handbook was in 2006, and the second edition was published in 2011.

The appearance for the second edition is very similar to the first, with the colour, size and format being identical. The font is very small and does make reading uninviting. The book is quite difficult to handle when trying to read an open page, but it is a handy size and surprisingly lightweight considering the volume of information given within. The index is detailed and easy to use.

There are inconsistencies with the accuracy of the information and the use of the most up-to-date sources e.g. The definition of the midwife on p.4 is inaccurate as it still refers to the 28 day limit which has not been included in the NMC Midwives Rules and Standards since before their publication in 2004; additionally current literature refers to women ‘birthing’ their babies not midwives delivering them.

It was pleasing to see the information on Drug administration in midwifery incorporating the new legislation that has only very recently been amended by the MHRA in 2011 (p.12), yet paradoxically it is the CEMACH (2004) report being cited in this edition, when there have been 2 reports published after this in 2007 and by CMACE in 2011 (p.459).

In this current edition, few chapters have a reference list included which is not in keeping with academic sourcing of information though many cite recommended reading.

There are new chapters included in the second edition which reflect the consumer demand for information on sexual health and complementary therapies.

The chapters have been updated with new information and some have had the content reorganised into more appropriate chapters e.g. The chapter on pregnancy complications now includes multiple pregnancy, Breech presentation and intra-uterine restriction instead of them being misplaced in the chapter on medical conditions complicating pregnancy evidenced in edition one.

The chapters are logical and contain a lot of valuable information, and the content appears largely reflective of current socio-economic and demographic data. A major omission for Chapter 12 is the use of water for pain relief in labour, though this is included in the chapter on Normal labour. Perhaps when content does overlap, reference to where it appears could help direct the reader.

Perinatal mental health is an area that has been causing concern since the publication of the CEMACH report in 2004 and has gathered momentum with the 2007 and 2011 reports; there is now considerable evidence and professional effort surrounding this public health issue, which does not appear to be truly reflected in this handbook.

Overall, this is a very comprehensive and useful resource; the limitations are the lack of references to evidence the sources of information, and the exclusion of a chapter surrounding Perinatal Mental Health.


ISBN-10: 0199584673
ISBN-13: 978-0199584673


Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (July 2011)


768 pages


Nicky J Clark RGN, RM, ADM, Cert.Ed (of Adults), MA in Applied research in education
Midwifery lecturer/Midwifery admissions tutor, University of Hull

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