This post is about the Midwifery: Best Practice series, which I edited from 2002 to 2008. You can see the books on my Books page.
The books were commissioned by a brilliant woman who worked for Elsevier, Mary Seager, and we created five volumes in total. And to answer the question I am most commonly asked about them, they all contain completely different material and are not updates of the same book!
I was their editor; about 90% of the articles in these books were originally published in midwifery journals. The rest were original, and a few were edited by my to make sense in a different format.
These articles were grouped into themes and supplemented with extra material written especially for these volumes. Each contained core sections relating to women and midwives, pregnancy, labour and birth, the postnatal / neonatal period and a lovely varied collection of articles under the heading of ‘stories and reflection’.
The ‘stories and reflection’ section was always my favourite section to put together. Although creating the entire series was fun, if also domestically disruptive. It tended to involve me covering the floor of my office and often also the living room with open copies of a year or two’s worth of journals as I decided which articles we would include and how they would fit together!
The books were aimed mainly at student and qualified midwives, but I’ve been fascinated and delighted to discover recently that these books are now also being used by aspiring midwives and other birth workers who want to gain a broad understanding of various issues relating to midwifery practice.
But I know that it’s not easy to find the chapter / topics lists online, so in answer to one of the questions I’m most often asked, here’s a quick overview:
- Each volume contains core collections of articles relating to the broad topics of (1) women, midwives and choice, (2) pregnancy, (3) labour and birth, (4) the postnatal experience and (5) stories and reflection (although the titles of those sections do vary slightly throughout the series). The additional sections are as follows:
- Midwifery: Best Practice, Volume 1 contains additional collections of articles on choice, antenatal education, the third stage of labour, abuse and alternative therapies.
- In Midwifery: Best Practice, Volume 2, we supplemented the core sections with articles looking at normal birth, domestic violence, elements of risk and parenting.
- The ‘focus on’ sections in Midwifery: Best Practice, Volume 3 include articles on the subjects of families, spirituality, alternative therapies and loss, bereavement and grief.
- Midwifery: Best Practice, Volume 4 has two additional sections on diversity and one each on building communities of women and birth centres.
- Finally, Midwifery: Best Practice, Volume 5 contains collections on the birthing environment, women, midwives and risk, holistic health and international working and stories.
Although I would always urge people to ensure that they are reading up-to-date information re evidence, some of these books – and others published in the same era – contain some really classic information about midwifery and birth. So if you can find them, I’d urge you to check them out!
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