The diversity of women’s experiences in Stories in Midwifery: Reflection, inquiry, action present many perspectives of birth services in contemporary Australia. The stories, in the words of women and care providers, are far ranging. They include accounts of homebirth with a privately practicing midwife, births in private and public hospitals, elective caesarean section with a private obstetrician, vaginal birth after caesarean section, vaginal breech birth, emergency caesarean section and services provided in remote communities.
The variety demonstrates the complexity of woman-centred care. The choices women make are not simply due to different personalities and personal influences; they are within a framework of services available and advice received. One story describes a woman having twins who chose an elective caesarean section based on advice, from a doctor, that wasn’t evidence-based. The strength of Stories in Midwifery is that it guides readers to evidence-based practice while having respect for women’s stories and their choices. The structure of ‘reflection, inquiry, action’ in relation to each story encourages readers to think critically about the care provided to women making it an excellent learning resource. The book embodies the fundamentals of woman-centred care in midwifery practice.
Christine Catling, Allison Cummins and Rosemarie Hogan are all midwifery academics at UTS. Hogan is the Director of Midwifery Studies and Course Coordinator for the Bachelor of Midwifery, Cummins coordinates the Graduate Diploma of Midwifery and Catling is a widely published researcher whose PhD investigated publicly funded home birth in Australia.