Leigh raised an interesting question the other day after I posted a comment about ultrasound pregnancy scans being available as MP3 files. I was making the point that it is just another way of hooking women into necessary interventions and said that routine scans do not make any difference to birth outcomes for low risk women. Leigh's response was this:
surely its not all about outcomes.. even for a teacher.. I look at this as just an extension of the family photo, and a little way of getting excited about the new member to be..
The outcomes we are wanting are a healthy mother, baby and family. By 'healthy' I mean mental, emotional and spiritual health as well as physical health. Ultimately the two things are interconnected; the journey and the outcome. As a midwife, I feel that pregnancy and birth isn't just about the outcome but the journey as well. This is why I have supported women in the past to do things that may not have necessarily had full medical agreement; because the journey has been just as important to the women as having a live, healthy baby at the end of the day.
But ultimately, outcomes are what midwives are 'judged' on by women and families, other health professionals, the midwifery profession and society in general. It only takes one 'poor' outcome to shatter a midwife's career and life.
What do you think? If you are a midwife, what do you see as the focus of your practice? If you are a non-midwife - maybe you are a mother or father to be - what are the things that mean a lot to you when thinking about having a baby?
Image: 'curve' Per Ola Wiberg