Midwives’ Views on the Acceptability of a Future Trial of the Sims Posture for Fetal Malposition in Labor in the Context of Their Knowledge and Practice: A Mixed-methods Study
Barrowclough, J; Crowther, C; Kool, B
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Introduction: Evidence of safe and effective maternal interventions to improve fetal malposition in labor is inconclusive. A contemporary, randomized controlled trial of maternal posture would expand this evidence, however, collaboration with midwives will be critical. The aim of this study is to assess midwives’ views on the acceptability of a trial of the Sims posture for fetal malposition in labor and identify current midwifery knowledge and practice surrounding fetal malposition. Methods: A mixed-methods study incorporating a web-based survey and guided focus groups with midwives was conducted in New Zealand during 2020. Midwives serving Auckland Hospital and Māori and Pasifika midwives serving South Auckland (n=136) were invited to participate in the study. Data were descriptively analyzed using chi-squared and cross-tabulation. Collaboration with a trial was contextualized by thematic content from survey and focus-group data. Results: Fifty (36%) midwives from primary and secondary/tertiary settings responded to the survey, and 19 participated in four focus groups. Most midwives thought maternal posture affects malposition, utilize changes of posture often with the peanut ball, would recommend a posture if cesareans were reduced by 20%, and would definitely or probably collaborate with a labor trial of posture. Fetal monitoring with women in the Sims posture was difficult for nearly one-fifth of midwives. Seven themes emerged regarding trial participation: trial design, relevance, practice, diagnosis, knowledge and skills, and trial compliance. Conclusions: Current practice concerning malposition utilizes flexibility of posture. Provision of some free movement and reassurance surrounding trial equipoise may enhance trial collaboration.