MIDWIFERY BASICS Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing 6. Blood tests for investigating pre-eclampsia
Joyce Cowan, Senior Lecturer in midwifery, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, and self-employed, case-loading midwife(June 2016)
Pre-eclampsia complicates between 2 per cent and 8 per cent of pregnancies, and safe care for mother and baby depends on early recognition of signs and symptoms, as well as timely investigation and referral. An understanding of the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia is essential for the midwife as she is the practitioner most likely to recognise the disease as it presents. This article provides an overview of the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia, a summary of risk factors and an overview of laboratory tests that may be requested by the midwife. The article focuses on communication between the midwife and woman with an emphasis on holistic care.
How midwives can help with perinatal depression
Joanne Morton, former midwife and integrative counsellor and manager of a charity providing support, advice and information for women and their families who are affected by ante- and postnatal depression
In 2011 a national children’s charity led a campaign that identified why help with postnatal depression (PND) needed to improve; however PND remains a huge problem. Numerous cases are still coming to light where a mother has not sought help nor has been given adequate support, with disastrous consequences. Why is this still happening and what can health professionals do? Former practising midwife and specialist PND counsellor at a charity supporting women and families suffering from PND, Joanne Morton discusses why increasing awareness, education and understanding of perinatal illness are vital to limit the devastating effects of antenatal depression (AND) and PND and how standards of care must improve to help mothers in need.
Alcohol and pregnancy: a dangerous cocktail
Specialist midwife at Barnsley Hospital
Executive director of the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS-UK)(June 2016)
Women have diverse attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Contradictory views about the risks associated with alcohol intake influence consumption levels. Many women do not receive detailed advice from healthcare professionals. The woman’s assessment of risk is hindered by the contradictory advice from government guidelines, health organisations and the media. Health professionals play a vital role in advising women on health behaviours pre-conception and throughout the antenatal and postnatal period to improve outcomes. Midwives ensure and enable women to make informed choices regarding alcohol consumption during pregnancy. As healthcare professionals we should be providing evidence based, up to date information regarding the potential risks and harms associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy for the unborn. So why is this not happening?
MIDWIFERY BASICS Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing 7. Testing for diabetes in pregnancy
Nimisha Waller, Senior Midwifery Lecturer, AUT University and NZCOM Educator, Auckland, New Zealand(June 2016)
‘Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing’ is the 10th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ targeted at both students and practicing midwives who wish to update. The series aims to raise awareness of the needs of women during their childbearing experience. The reader is encouraged, through directed activities, to seek further information.
MIDWIFERY BASICS Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing 5. Testing for sexually transmitted infections in pregnancy
Julie Williams, Senior lecturer, Midwifery, University of the West of England(June 2016)
‘Blood tests for investigating maternal wellbeing’ is the 10th series of ‘Midwifery basics’ and is targeted at both students and practising midwives who wish to update their knowledge. The series aims to raise awareness of the needs of women during their childbearing experience. The reader is encouraged, through directed exercises, to seek further information. This article explores the issues surrounding blood testing for the presence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during pregnancy. The aim is to provide an overview of the blood tests required and also of some of the wider issues around STIs in pregnancy. It considers aspects of physiology, pathology, the impact on the fetus and neonate of these infections and provides information about the blood tests themselves. It also considers the current NICE guidelines in relation to testing for STIs in pregnancy, as well as other relevant sources of evidence in relation to the management of these conditions. The article also considers the midwife’s role in relation to providing information to women and for supporting them in their decision-making for testing for STIs.