Complementary Therapies in Maternity Care by Denise Tiran

02 October 2018
2 min read
Volume 26 · Issue 10

As a midwife leading the way to raise the status of complementary therapy in maternity care, Tiran's latest book is a welcome addition to this growing body of knowledge, and is the culmination (but hopefully not the conclusion) of more than two decades of contributing to midwifery literature.

This is a resource for midwives and birth workers, broken down into clear chapters, including common therapies, professional issues and useful topics such as back pain in pregnancy and therapies for post-dates pregnancy. Although the book cites a great deal of research, it is readable and accessible. Therapies are examined in clear sections within chapters, with detailed tables and diagrams. Tiran doesn't just list the range of therapies available; she also synthesises the comparative uses and weighs up the evidence in a way that empowers midwives to consider therapies according to clinical need and make professional judgements on their use.

As a midwife in a city where these therapies are widely used among pregnant women and parents of small children, this book is timely and highly useful. There are many specialist alternative practitioners in the UK who claim expertise in the field of maternity, and women are also saturated with ‘expert’ opinion online. When women experience common problems and symptoms in pregnancy, in my experience, they tend to access the internet before speaking to their midwife. This may potentially lead to uneven and possibly unsafe use of herbal remedies and treatments during a vulnerable and important life transition. In my Trust, aromatherapy has been included as a tool to support women in labour. This alone necessitated a thorough examination of its use, appropriate training and clear protocols to ensure safety and effectiveness. A common misconception of complementary therapies is that they are safe and applicable generically; however, this book asserts the importance of evaluating the validity and effectiveness of any therapy or method. This book would also be valued outside the UK, where in some maternity systems there is not yet integration between traditional midwifery methods and evidence-based care.

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