Media Reviews – Issue 146

Midwifery Today, Issue 146, Summer 2023.
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Supporting Physiological Birth Choices in Midwifery Practice, by Claire Feeley. 2023. (UK: Routledge, $44.95, 178 pages, paperback.)

This book is based upon Claire Feeley’s PhD research study. She interviewed midwives working in the UK National Health Service who describe the demands and resources required to support women who wish to deliver outside of guidelines. Women should have the ability/opportunity to make choices, a right embedded within governmental policies, cultural norms, and women’s expectations. The reality is shared within the narrative of interviews with these midwives.

Claire sets the scene with statistics regarding physiological birth today as compared to years ago. As physiological birth rates have decreased, the number of interventions (induction of labour and caesarean) have increased.

The author shares descriptions of how care has become “guidelines-centred” rather than individualized. She highlights Royal College of Obstetricians green top guidelines (widely used in the UK), of which only 9–12% are based on best quality evidence.

The book also discusses “evidence-informed practice” rather than “evidence-based practice. In other words, we need to use actual research in our clinical practice.

This was an interesting book to read, which enhances present-day midwifery practice challenges.

Flourish: A Practical and Emotional Guidebook to Thriving in Midwifery, by Kate Greenstock. 2023. (London: Pinter and Martin,$19.95, 272 pages, paperback.)

In these challenging times in which we are working, this book may assist students and midwives during their careers. Kate shares many enlightened aspects of our work, asking many questions about who and what we are. She discusses the impact of post-traumatic stress on midwives, and how we can balance kindness and professional detachment in our work. This is particularly important when trauma occurs at work, including any impact on our home life.

The book continues to describe racism and oppression towards black and brown midwives, and sadly, we have also read reports that show the discrepancy in mortality and stillbirth rates for this group of women.

The book continues to discuss questions we should ask ourselves about home and work. The author highlights issues around fear-based culture, bullying, racism, and oppression. She then moves into avenues to assist midwives to thrive in midwifery. This goes beyond good leadership and resilience and into principles to assist us through debriefs, keeping a journal, self-compassion and moving the mind/body. She finishes with the concept that “small changes can make a big impact.”

One area not written about as much I would have expected is institutional bullying, however. Maybe that will be her next book.

About Author: Dianne Garland

Dianne Garland, FRCM, SRN, RM, ADM, PGCEA, MSc, is a freelance midwife and the owner and founder of

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