Problems of pregnancy range from the mildly irritating to life-threatening conditions. Fortunately in the developed world, the life-threatening ones are rare because of improvements in the general health of the population, improved social circumstances and lower parity .However, as women delay childbearing, they become more at risk of disorders associated with increasing age, such as miscarriage and placenta praevia.
Regular antenatal examinations beginning early in pregnancy are undoubtedly valuable. They help to prevent many complications and their ensuing problems, contribute to timely diagnosis and treatment, and enable women to form relationships with midwives, obstetricians and other health professionals who become involved with them in striving to achieve the best possible pregnancy outcomes.
THE MIDWIFE’S ROLE
The midwife’s role in relation to the problems associated with pregnancy is clear. At initial and subsequent encounters with the pregnant woman, it is essential that an accurate health history is obtained. General and specific physical examinations must be carried out and the results meticulously recorded.
The examination and recordings enable effective referral and management. Where the midwife detects a deviation from the norm which is outside her sphere of practice, she must refer the woman to a suitable qualified health professional to assist her (NMC [Nursing and Midwifery Council] 2012a).
The midwife will continue to offer the woman care and support throughout her pregnancy and beyond. The woman who develops problems during her pregnancy is no less in need of the midwife’s skilled attention; indeed, her condition and psychological state may be considerably improved by the midwife’s continued presence and support.
It is also the midwife’s role in such a situation to ensure that the woman and her family understand the situation; are enabled to take part in decision-making; and are protected from unnecessary fear.
As the primary care manager, the midwife must ensure that all the attention the woman receives from different health professionals is balanced and integrated – in short, the woman’s needs remain paramount throughout