Caring to make a difference: vulnerable women

Thomson, Gillian orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3392-8182, Delap, N. F, Balaam, Marie-Clare orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-4511-7352 and Van Lessen, L (2017) Caring to make a difference: vulnerable women. The Practising Midwife . ISSN 1461-3123

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We report findings from a mixed-methods study to compare birth outcomes and experiences between vulnerable women who had/had not received targeted support from a specialist midwifery team and/or a third-sector organisation. Sociodemographic and birth-related/outcome data from a 12-month birth cohort were used to explore differences between a) vulnerable and non-vulnerable women; and b) vulnerable women who had and those who had not received targeted support.
Seventeen women who had/had not received targeted support were interviewed. Vulnerable mothers were significantly more likely to be younger, from a minority ethnic group, access care later in pregnancy and have a baby born earlier and at a
lower birth weight. A higher percentage of women who received targeted support had a spontaneous birth, a vaginal presentation at birth and were less likely to use anaesthesia during labour when compared with unsupported vulnerable women. Targeted support was associated with reassurance, increased parental confidence and wellbeing. Key practice and policy-based implications are considered.

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